8 Ways To Protect Yourself From Lyme Disease This Summer!

Bug trouble is big trouble

Getting out in nature is vital for our mental and physical health, yet we must remember to take precautions! Dangers are lurking in the grass that can be deadly. I know this firsthand! I worked in a wellness center where I listened to and witnessed endless stories of just how devastating Lyme disease can be. Not only physically and mentally but also financially!

I am someone that is in the woods almost every day. As soon as I come home from a hike, I take off my clothes, do a body scan, and most times take a shower. Recently I came home to find a tick had latched onto my calf. I removed the tick and watched the bite mark go from a large red welt to a bullseye. It was not attached for more than an hour or so, and although I feel fine, I will get tested for Lyme disease for peace of mind. Some say a tick needs to be attached for 24-48 hours for Lyme disease to be transmitted; others disagree, so it is wise to play it safe and get tested!

 

Lyme disease

The awareness of this disease and the name originated in Lyme, Connecticut in 1975. The spirochete bacteria, Borrelia burgorferi, is not only carried by several ticks, primarily the deer tick, but in a few cases by horse fly bites. Fifty percent of infections have a bullseye rash.1

Ticks saliva is loaded with antihistamines, anticoagulants, and other inhibitors that prevent wound healing and dampen pain and itch responses. Therefore, ticks may go undetected, along with the fact that they can be incredibly small. Tick’s crawl upwards, looking for a warm, moist area to feed.2

Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease that may involve multiple body systems and mimic other diseases, making it difficult to diagnose. There are two stages to Lyme disease: “acute” and “chronic”. Though they are the same bacteria, they may as well be totally different pathogens. 3 The symptoms of acute Lyme disease include the “bulls-eye rash” and flu-like symptoms. Acute is a tick bite unnoticed that travels throughout the body, finding homes in the brain, heart, gut, and joints.4 Some symptoms of chronic Lyme disease may include headaches, muscle aches, stomach ulcers, constipation, and joint pain.  If left untreated, it can progress to symptoms as serious as inflammation of the brain, enlargement of the heart, and inflammation of the pericardium and sensory nerves.5 You can also develop coinfections, among those with chronic Lyme disease recently found that over 50% had coinfections.6

 

Ticks bites

A tick should be removed slowly with tweezers or a tick removal tool as close to the skin as possible. Many believe you should heat the tick or apply petroleum jelly. Doing this may aggravate the tick and cause it to regurgitate into your blood increases the risk of infection.7

 

Lyme treatment

There are several different types of blood tests available, but all have limitations. Western blot or ELISA testare two of the more reliable tests.

If you believe you have Lyme, visit your doctor to confirm your suspicion. The sooner you address these conditions and begin treatment, the more effectively you will recover. 8

Antibiotic treatment when started promptly seems to cure Lyme disease 90% of the time. However, Lyme bacteria may form a biofilm which protect them from the antibiotic treatment. The biofilm can also escape the immune system surveillance which naturally protects us from infections.9 There are beneficial herbs that may help in braking up the biofilm along with antibiotic treatment. Anti-spirochetal effects were observed when doxycycline was used with rosmarinic acid and both vitamins D3 and C. There are many herbal extracts that have shown varying degrees of improvement when used for persisting symptoms.10

Working closely with you doctor is important as well as implementing a whole-body approach.

 

Natural supplements play a large role in helping to halt and reverse some of the damages done by the bacteria.11

  • A probiotic helps protect the good bacteria and may reduce side effects associated with antibiotic use.12
  • A detox supplement helps clear out toxins when on medications; liver detoxification protocols have been shown to improve Lyme related symptoms.13
  • An immune-boosting supplement to help your immune system fight this infection on its own; certain supplements have anti-inflammatory and immune-enhancing effects. 14
  • A multi-vitamin/multi-mineral to make sure your body is getting the basic nutrients it needs during this time.15
  • Antimicrobial herbs work to help fight the infections along with antibiotics.16
  • Green tea extract, turmeric and resveratrol may lower neurological inflammation.17 
  • Bacterial Defense contains beneficial plant components that aid in breaking up biofilms and provide antimicrobial activity. The plant extracts help maintain a healthy bacterial balance and may be of added benefit when used with antibiotics.

 

Lifestyle changes to alleviate symptoms.

  • Remove processed foods and sugar and incorporate more good protein, healthy fats, and plenty nutrients, fruits and vegetable along with herbs, spices and omega 3-rich foods.
  • Be sure to find out what foods you may be sensitive to, food sensitivities can increase inflammation, weaken your immune system, and worsen Lyme disease symptoms.
  • Get good sleep! Without adequate sleep you can worsen Lyme symptoms and lower your immune responses allowing pathogens to ramp up.
  • Relax and control stress. Chronic stress can affect your immune system negatively and exacerbate Lyme disease. 18

 

Don’t let fear stand in your way!

In no way does this mean we should not enjoy the great outdoors! It just a matter of taking precautions. It is true that they predict this year will be a bad tick year due to the mild winter. Unfortunately, climate change is influencing the tick population also. 19

Take precautions not only in tall grass and in the woods, but also at the beach. A new study found that blacklegged ticks were just as common in beach grass and vegetation leading to the sand as wooded areas in Northern California. Researchers found that the beach ticks were also slightly more likely to carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease than those found in the woods.20

 

Ways to protect yourself for a day outside.

  • Protect your ankles. Wear long pants tucked into high socks.
  • Wrap duct tape—sticky-side out—around where the pants and socks meet so that crawling ticks get stuck on the tape.
  • Conduct tick checks immediately when coming in from outside. It may also be beneficial to take a shower.
  • Check your pets! Not only to protect them, but also so the ticks do not get onto you!
  • Keeping lawns trimmed and create a barrier between your yard and the woods with wood chips, eliminate tall grasses where ticks crawl.
  •  Remove wood piles where mice, chipmunks and squirrels may hide. They keep tick larva and nymphs circulating in nature.
  • Wear tick repellent
  • Throw your clothes directly into the washer, but you’ll want to do so on high heat, the CDC says. If you don’t want to wash your clothes, toss them in your dryer and run the machine on high for 10 minutes to ensure ticks are killed.21

 

Sources:

  1. https://arminlabs.com/en/services/tick-borne-diseases/lyme-borreliosis
  2. www.lymepa.org
  3. https://www.mdpi.com/2079-6382/8/4/269
  4. https://www.ilads.org/research-literature/lyme-disease-basics-for-providers/
  5. https://arminlabs.com/en/services/tick-borne-diseases/lyme-borreliosis
  6. https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-basics/co-infections/about-co-infections/
  7. www.lymepa.org
  8. https://www.globallymealliance.org/about-lyme/diagnosis/testing/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6287027/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27570483/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27570483/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5872163/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6316761/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6316761/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4490322/
  16. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/lyme-disease-treatment-2-herbal-compounds-may-beat-antibiotics#1-week-treatment-eradicates-bacteria
  17. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2020.00006/full
  18. https://drhyman.com/blog/2015/10/09/7-strategies-to-tackle-lyme- disease/https://www.prevention.com/health/a36264640/ticks-beach-risk/
  19. https://www.prevention.com/health/a36264640/ticks-beach-risk/
  20. https://healthbeat.spectrumhealth.org/tick-tick-boom/

 

 

 

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