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Ticks & Lyme Disease: How to Avoid & Treatment Options

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Lyme disease is a bacterial disease transmitted by infected ticks. According to the CDC, Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne, infectious disease in the United States. Since 1982, the number of reported cases annually has increased 25 fold. Along with the diagnosis of Lyme disease there are five subspecies of Borrelia Burgdorferi, over 100 strains in the US, and 300 strains worldwide. Lyme disease is known to evade the immune system and antibiotic therapy, leading to chronic infections.

How does a person get Lyme disease?

Being bitten by an infected deer tick, black-legged tick, can cause Lyme disease. Not all ticks carry the bacterium, and a bite does not always result in Lyme disease developing. The ticks feed primarily on small mammals infected with the bacteria. You are not the only one at risk of contracting Lyme disease. Your cat/dog can be infected as well. Lyme disease can manifest in pets as painful arthritis.

It is impossible to determine by sight which ticks are infected and which ones are not. That is why it is so important to avoid being bitten.

Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease

Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease vary greatly from one person to another depending on what other co-infections are present, and the length of time the person has been infected.

Immediate symptoms of Lyme disease

  • Red ring-like (bull’s eye) rash occurs in about 70-80% of cases and begins 3-32 days after the bite.
  • Rash grows larger over a few days/weeks. Rash is not painful
  • Fatigue
  • Chills/fever
  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Muscle and joint pain

Allergic symptoms to tick saliva can occur after about 72 hours, and are not a sign of Lyme disease. The reaction at the site of the bite usually does not expand beyond two inches in diameter and disappears in a few days.

Delayed symptoms of Lyme disease

Diagnosis of Lyme disease is sometimes missed in its initial stages because the symptoms are similar to the common cold or mononucleosis. Symptoms can develop days, weeks, months, or even years after the initial bite if the disease is not diagnosed and treated promptly. Delayed symptoms of Lyme disease include:

  • Fever
  • Severe headache and stiff neck
  • Certain heart irregularities
  • Temporary paralysis of facial muscles
  • Pain with numbness or weakness in the arms or legs
  • Loss of concentration or memory

What are my treatment options?

Lyme disease can be incredibly difficult to diagnose and treat. Generally, people are treated with antibiotics as soon as it is realized that they have been bitten by a tick. Most respond quickly and completely to this treatment protocol. However, there are always situations where it either didn’t work, or was caught too late. In these situations, Lyme disease can be more challenging to address, but there are options.

  • NAET Allergy Elimination: When people have had Lyme disease for an extended period it can wreak havoc on their body. Creating multiple system dysfunctions. NAET can help to get that system back on track. NAET also works well in combination with other modalities.
  • Functional Medicine
  • Naturopathic Medicine
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Homeopathic Remedies

How do you avoid getting bitten by a tick?

By far the best way to avoid getting Lyme disease is to avoid being bitten in the first place. Here are a few things suggested by the CDC.

Avoid certain areas

  • Avoid heavily tick infested areas
  • Avoid tall grass and weeds
  • Walk in the center of trails so weeds do not brush against you.
  • Make sure you keep the grass and weeds around your house trimmed low.

Clothing

  • Wear light-colored, protective clothing. Long-sleeves, pants, boots/sturdy shoes, and a head covering.
  • Tuck pants into your socks, and tape off the area where pants and socks meet to prevent ticks from crawling in.

Insect spray

  • Apply insect repellent containing 10-30% DEET primarily to clothes, and sparingly to exposed skin. Always follow the instructions on the bottle and supervise children application.
  • The CDC now recognizes that ingredients like Lemon Eucalyptus, which can be found in doTERRA’s TerraShield is an effective way to repel ticks. It must be reapplied every 1-2 hours.

Check yourself & others

  • Check yourself, friends/family, and pets every two to three hours for ticks.

Oh no! I found a tick! What do I do?

  • As soon as you discover the tick, remove it promptly.
  • Grasp it with a tweezers as close to the skin as possible and gently, but firmly, pull it straight out.
  • If tweezers are not available, grasp the tick with a piece of tissue or cloth or whatever barrier can be used between your fingers and the tick.
  • Wash the bite area and your hands thoroughly with soap and water and apply antiseptic to the bite site.
  • Did the mouthparts break off? Do not become alarmed. Once the mouthparts are removed from the rest of the tick, the tick can no longer transmit the Lyme disease bacteria.
  • If you would like the tick identified, put it in a small vial of rubbing alcohol and contact your local health department for assistance.

Do Not:

  • Do not burn a tick with a match or cover it with petroleum jelly
  • Do not use bare hands
  • Do not twist or jerk the tick

 

References

Http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/diseases-a-z-list/lyme-disease

https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/prev/natural-repellents.html

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2018/the-pre-travel-consultation/protection-against-mosquitoes-ticks-other-arthropods

http://www.ilads.org/lyme/lyme-quickfacts.php

About the author

Teri Calandra

Teri Calandra Dipl.Acu, MSTOM, L.Ac., LMT, RMT

Teri began her studies in energy medicine as part of her own personal development journey, and continues to to learn and integrate that knowledge into her practice. Teri is the founding practitioner of Calandra Center for Health & Wellness in Schaumburg, Illinois. She is licensed by the State of Illinois in acupuncture (L.Ac.), and board certified through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

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