Summer Prep: Lyme Disease Awareness
rain fog, fatigue, joint pain, and other flu-like-symptoms are just a few hints that you may have Lyme Disease. As cases of Lyme are on the rise, both in Virginia and throughout the US, it’s come into the limelight (pun somewhat intended) in recent years. The CDC estimates that around 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme every year. It’s critical that you take precautions to prevent Lyme, and Lyme Disease awareness can help you identify and treat it as early as possible.
What is Lyme?
What we call Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that starts with a tick bite and can progress very quickly. The tick transmits the infection, caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which the ticks pick up from infected deer. Lyme is incredibly sneaky because its symptoms are so easily confused with those of other common illnesses such as the flu, mononucleosis, and several auto-immune disorders. Its symptoms are also similar to some of these other tick-borne infections. As such, it often goes untreated and is easily misdiagnosed. In the past, doctors didn’t take Lyme quite as seriously, but with cases on the rise, awareness is growing. A spirochete shaped bacteria that is adept at hiding out in the body, it’s quite tough to treat once it’s progressed. Luckily, statistics show that when treated early (typically with antibiotics), chances of recovery are very high. When left untreated, Lyme can progress into auto-immune disorders, cause major neurological problems, worsen arthritis, and generally wreak havoc on your immune system.
How to tell if you have Lyme
The onset of Lyme disease typically feels much like the flu or mononucleosis. If you suspect you’ve been bitten by a tick and happen to have these symptoms, consider asking your doctor for a test for tick-borne infections before assuming it’s anything else. Many people develop a ring-like rash around their tick bite, and in the past, this was considered the main marker of Lyme. We know now that not all cases of Lyme involve the “bullseye” rash. Statistics vary, but it’s suggested that only about 70% of Lyme cases involve this rash. As a precaution, never assume it’s not Lyme because the bullseye isn’t present.
The best precaution to take against Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses is prevention. Let’s face it, the very season we want to spend outdoors is the one that puts us at the highest risk for Lyme and bug bites, in general. While the only way to truly prevent Lyme is to hide from the outdoors, something we’ll never advocate for, it’s important to prepare yourself. Last week on the blog we discussed several ways to prevent bug bites using all natural remedies. Check out said post for some of our favorite bug prevention techniques that are free of harmful chemicals. If you’re headed out in the woods, cover as much skin as possible to prevent ticks from latching onto you.
Ways to treat Lyme Disease:
If you suspect you have Lyme, it’s critical to consult an MD, and we recommend searching for one who has experience treating Lyme. You may also consider the support of a homeopath who works with Lyme patients. Dr. Michael Jabalee is well-known in the Charlottesville community for his helpful acupuncture treatments for Lyme. The symptoms and progression of Lyme can also be managed with lifestyle choices, acupuncture, and several all-natural remedies, many of which we carry at Rebecca’s. One of the more pernicious symptoms to tackle is inflammation, and you’ll want all hands on deck from a supplemental and dietary perspective. A popular option for treating Lyme is turmeric, which we’ve raved about on the blog for its anti-inflammatory powers. You can shift your diet to include inflammation-fighting foods, including, but not limited to, broccoli, beets, blueberries, and green teas.
Other great options include resveratrol, which helps reduce inflammation and interrupts the cytokine cascades to disrupt the survival of the spirochetes; cat’s claw to help reduce inflammation and boost immunity; and/or Vibrant Health’s Bulls Eye blend capsule to support the body against Lyme.
Glucosamine is a great option for treating any pain in the joints, and this supplement comes with many additional health benefits.
If you are currently taking antibiotics or have undergone any antibiotic treatment for Lyme, you’ll want to get probiotics going ASAP to keep “good” bacteria levels up and to maintain overall gut health. We have both refrigerated and shelf stable probiotic options. We recommend taking probiotics a minimum of 2 hours apart from antibiotics to make sure you get the full benefit.
If you’re looking for Lyme Disease support, come see us at Rebecca’s.