The number of people coming to our office because of Lyme disease has grown exponentially over the past few years and is creating serious long term health problems for people and animals. Lyme disease is a nasty, sneaky parasitic bacterial infection (Borrelia burgdorferi) transmitted by very tiny black legged deer ticks. Ticks can attach to any part of the human body but are often found in hard-to-see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. According to the Center for Disease Control, in most cases, the tick must be attached for 36-48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted.
One indicator of infection is at the bite site you will see can a red bull’s eye ring. However, because not everyone sees this or develops one, they don’t know they have even been infected. Typical symptoms can develop later which include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. People with chronic Lyme disease may be misdiagnosed with more other conditions with symptoms that mimic Lyme disease and therefore go untreated.
The blood tests for Lyme disease are not particularly accurate and may sometimes be negative in cases where disease is actually present, and false positive tests, though less common, are also possible.
The most common tests measure the patient’s antibody response to infection. When your body is invaded by the Lyme spirochetes, your immune system makes antibodies to fight the infection. Tests that measure antibody levels are indirect tests because they measure the body’s response to infection rather than the presence of the bacteria themselves.
During the first 4-6 weeks after exposure, most people have not developed the antibody response that the test measures. Treatment should not be delayed pending a positive test result if the suspicion of Lyme disease is high (exposure, tick bite, possible rash).
Wearing protective clothing and natural bug repellent is extremely important when going into a potential tick infested area like tall grass and woods. The problem is ticks are all around and can also be brought indoors on clothing and pets.
We have found in our practice that Oregano Oil liquid or capsules (Natural Factors or North American Herb) taken internally is beneficial not only for killing off the bacterium, it also appears to keep the ticks from biting or holding onto the bite. As a preventative we usually recommend 1 dose 1-2 x day (ages 10 years or older).
Goldensalve (Barlow Herbal) contains lomatium which is a potent natural antibiotic that should be applied to a tick bite site immediately.
For prevention for children under 10 years old or if you currently are suffering from Lyme disease and need assistance with treatment, please consult with your Naturopath or make an appointment (telephone or in-office) with our office at 508-336-4242.