In the "Lyme Light" ~ Michelle Tonkin ND
It’s that time of year again when the temperatures rise, the sun is out, and people everywhere emerge from their homes to embrace the spring! Unfortunately, it's also the time of year that ticks will come out of their winter hibernation, especially if you happen to live in a colder climate (Roberts, 2021). For those who live in warmer climates, tick activity won’t be that varied (Roberts, 2021).
Ticks can carry the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and sometimes Borrelia mayonii which can cause Lyme Disease in the U.S. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). According to the CDC (2021), each year “approximately 476,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease” (CDC, 2021, para 1, line 2). The initial symptoms of Lyme Disease can range from a rash (which can look like a bull’s eye in appearance) to headache, fever, fatigue, chills, enlarged lymph nodes and pain in the body’s joints or muscles (Climan, 2021). Unfortunately, if Lyme disease goes unchecked it can progress into the second stage which can cause more health issues. Symptoms in this stage can include: “headache, fatigue, muscle pains, stiff neck (Meningitis), heart palpitations, fainting, blurred vision, facial paralysis (Bell’s Palsy), brain fog and abnormal sensitivity to light” (Tonkin, 2012, p. 16). The third stage of Lyme can often present itself symptomatically like many different disease processes such as Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, MS, Lupus etc. This stage “can occur from months to several years after the initial tick bite” (Tonkin, 2012, p. 17). The third stage of Lyme symptoms can include: “Any or all of the above symptoms from Stages One and Two, Rheumatoid Arthritis (Lyme Arthritis), Atrioventricular conduction abnormalities (AV heart block), Encephalopathy, Memory Loss, Chronic Insomnia, Extreme Mood Changes, Ataxia, Severe Depression, and Psychological Disorders (Tonkin, 2012, p. 17).
Ticks like to be in the grass or the woods, but thankfully there are a few key prevention tips that can help: (Roberts, 2021) 1.) Dress in long pants, so ticks can’t attach to legs and wearing lighter colors makes it easier to spot them. 2.) Use a repellent. Studies show “that repellents with 15 to 30 percent deet, 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus, or 20 percent picaridin tend to be most effective” (Roberts, 2021, para 12, line 4-6). 3.) Use vet approved products to protect your fur babies, and 4). Check for ticks that may have attached to your body within an hour or two of being in an area where ticks like to hang out -i.e., the woods (Roberts, 2021).
The standard treatment for Lyme disease is a 10–14-day course of either the antibiotics doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime (CDC, 2022). A study done by the Lyme Research Group University of New Haven (2010), showed the effectiveness of two antimicrobial agents, Samento and Banderol against the Lyme Disease bacterium. The conclusion of the study agreed that doxycycline was effective against the initial form of Lyme disease, but that the combination of Samento and Banderol was effective against all three forms of Lyme disease (i.e., spirochete, cell wall deficient, and cyst form) (Lyme Research Group University of New Haven, 2010)
If caught early enough, antibiotics can usually be successful (CDC, 2022) However, if treatment is delayed and the disease is allowed to progress, alternative therapies with or without antibiotics may prove to be a better solution.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022, January 19) Why is CDC Concerned About Lyme Disease https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/why-is-cdc-concerned-about-lyme-disease.html
Climan, A. (2021, May 15) What You Need to Know About the Stages of Lyme Disease Very Well Health https://www.verywellhealth.com/lyme-disease-stages-5176671
Datar, A, Luecke, D, Navroop, K, Sapi, E, Patel, S, Lyme Disease Research Group University of New Haven (2010, July) In Vitro Effectiveness of Samento and Banderol Herbal Extracts on the Different Morphological Forms of Borrelia Burgdorferi Townsend Letter The Examiner of Alternative Medicine https://townsendletter.com/July2010/sapi0710.html
Tonkin, M (2012) Lyme and Co-infections, the Road to Recovery Lu Lu Press, Raleigh, NC
Roberts, C (2021, March 24) When Does Tick Season Start? In Many Areas of the U.S., the Answer is Now Consumer Reports https://www.consumerreports.org/insect-repellent/when-does-tick-season-start-a6371167609/