Feb 15, 2015

The Importance of Proper Treatment for Early Lyme Disease



One of the blessings of having Lyme disease is that I've had the privilege of meeting many wonderful people. The downside is that these are people who think they might also be sick with Lyme disease.

While I grieve with them over the loss of their health, I count it a blessing that I can minister to them, share my story with them and pray for them.

I'm not a doctor and I can't diagnose or treat but I can offer direction, options and an understanding ear. 

I understand how serious Lyme and other tick-borne infections are. I understand the fear and the overwhelm of trying to get a diagnosis and the proper treatment.

We're often told the Lyme is not serious and that it can be quickly and easily treated.

I've experienced first hand the myriad of mystery symptoms brought on by tick-borne infections and I've experienced the harshness & ignorance of doctors when trying to get immediate treatment for new infections as well as a diagnosis for late stage Lyme.

Because of this, when someone calls me and tells me they've been bitten by a tick I can't stress strongly enough that they get the proper treatment REGARDLESS of symptoms.

ILADS recently changed their treatment protocol recommendations to protect people from becoming chronically ill.  

When I say chronically ill I'm talking about becoming very ill for the rest of your life.

For a known tick bite the typical course of action by your regular doctor would be to either wait for symptoms or to go ahead and give you 2 weeks of Doxycycline.

Waiting can be detrimental due to the nature of the bacterial and parasitic infections. By the time symptoms appear the infection could have spread through your entire body beginning it's devastation.

ILADS GUIDELINES

ILADS is now recommending that for every tick bite you get at least 20 days of Doxycycline.  Doctor's won't give your children who are under the age of 8 Doxy because it can destroy their grown-up teeth.

For bites that produce symptoms of any kind like rashes (less then 25% are bulls-eye), fever, swollen lymph nodes, or flu like symptoms, they are recommending a minimum of 4-6 weeks.

Other early symptoms could present as chronic headaches, stiff neck, sleep disturbance and problems with memory, concentration, depression, and lightheadedness.

The 2014 ILADS guidelines state that a patient should not rely on diagnostic testing because it fails to detect up to 90% of cases and does not distinguish between acute, chronic, or resolved infections. 

Their guidelines state that Lyme disease can become persistent and recurrent even with antibiotic therapy so they recommend treatment be prompt and aggressive and with a Lyme literate physician.

Please visit ILADS for the complete revised 2014 Lyme Treatment Guidelines.

Unfortunately they have not been able to determine an optimal antibiotic dose or duration of therapy because each infection and person is so unique.  There are many considerations when determining treatment such as how long it's been since the patient was bitten, the presenting symptoms, and how the patient responds to the antibiotic treatment.

What ILADS does know is that the standard protocol doesn't work. They are recommending longer treatment courses for acute (early) infections in order to prevent a chronic or recurring infection.  It is very important to work with your doctor and if you are not able to get the treatment needed find a Lyme Literate MD as soon as possible.  Timing is very important.

OBJECTIONS TO LONG TERM TREATMENT

Many people I talk to are completely against getting a longer course of antibiotics, they don't believe that they would need antibiotics for each and every tick bite because they've had tick bites for years and never had a problem.

There are more natural options available through a naturapath or holistic physician but I am not able to recommend a protocol that will completely eradicate early Lyme disease the way antibiotics will.

Many times, the same people call me months later after finding out that they now have a chronic infection or that they've become sick again or experiencing a worsening of symptoms after a short course of treatment.  This really breaks my heart because I know how devastating it can be and that it could have been avoided.

Another objection is on spending the money it takes to find a doctor or naturapath who is willing to treat the disease as aggressively as it needs to be treated in order to prevent a chronic infection.  Think of the alternative, 20 days of antibiotics, maybe up to 8 weeks or a lifetime.

THE CURE

The best cure is obviously prevention and education.  While you may not have Lyme disease right now, this is the fastest growing epidemic in our country.  These diseases are thought to be spread by more then just ticks, making it an even greater problem.

New viruses and other infections are consistently being found in ticks of all kinds around the country.  Even Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is making a huge come-back and causing severe illnesses.

My biggest hope is that you won't just close my blog and never think about this again, but that you will take this very seriously.  Lyme disease is called the great imitator.  Many people are sick and suffering and being treated for other more common diseases and are not getting better because tick-borne infections are the root cause and are being ignored.


TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF

Our culture is a very sick culture.  I have never seen so many sick children and it seems that we have a bigger problem than ever in the history of our country.

Children today have food allergies, psychological disorders, learning impairments, autism and the list goes on and on.

Our grocery stores are filled with genetically modified, sterilized, pesticide and chemical laden foods along with boxes, cans and pouches of sugar filled, food colored enticements.   We can't resist, we think it's too expensive to eat well, buy organic, or too difficult to tell our children "no" you can't eat "candy bar" cereal for breakfast.

Our environment is filled with electromagnetic fields from cell phones and wi-fi and our air filled with the chemicals that farmers and manufacturers use.  Our water supply is filled with chemicals, chlorine, parasites and medications.

Our immune systems can no longer fight off the diseases that once were easily avoided or resolved.  Because of this we are prime targets for every illness and disease that passes our way including tick-borne diseases.

I can testify that eating organic and buying toxic free products for my family is much less expensive then treating them for Lyme disease.

A few months of Doxycycline is much less toxic and less expensive then taking it for years for a chronic infection.  Early, aggressive treatment can completely cure the disease.

It is important to avoid areas where ticks might be prevalent. That can be very hard because ticks are everywhere, including in the cities.  small animals like squirrels, birds and mice can bring them right up to your house.

So, check for ticks every time you spend time outdoors and take the proper precautions like avoiding wooded areas or tall grasses.

If you do find a tick, use proper removal techniques; using fine tip tweezers, grabbing the tick as close to the head as possible and pulling straight up.

Never, ever, ever smother the tick with anything.  This will cause the tick to immediately inject it's whole gut load of toxins into your body.

You can save your tick and have it tested by a number of labs around the country.  This is much more accurate then getting yourself tested but remember timing is very important.  The quicker you respond to a tick bite the more likely you are to prevent a chronic infection.

There are many other ways you can protect yourself and many things you can do to prevent chronic tick-borne illness.  The bigger problem lies with never seeing a tick bite in the first place which I will address later.  Many chronic infections are caused because the patient never found a tick or had initial symptoms.

If you'd like more information find the links for my favorite blogs, visit them and read as much as you can.



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