5 Things You Should Know About Lyme Disease and the Worst Case Scenario

Classic Bull's Eye
Classic Bull's Eye

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in America, with 16,000 new cases reported each year. It is caused by a bite from a deer tick infected with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Not all tick bite will cause Lyme disease but if the tick stays on your body for more than 36 hours, you are likely to get Lyme disease. Lyme disease cases have been reported in nearly all states, with high number of cases in wooded areas. Early treatment is imperative to prevent long-term effects.  Treating Lyme disease can be tricky as sometimes, the disease persists and causes arthritic, neurological and cardiac complications even after symptoms are gone.

Deer Tick
Deer Tick

1. What are the symptoms?

Stage 1: The bite will develop into a lesion, much like a bull’s eye. It can be contained and localized on the bite area or it can cover the entire width of a person’s back. 10 percent of people may experience heart abnormalities such as palpitations, lightheadedness, fainting, chest pain or shortness of breath.

Stage 2: Flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, stiff neck, body and joint aches and fatigue make their appearance. If Lyme disease is not treated soon with antibiotics, it will progress to stage 3.

Stage 3: In the final stage, symptoms can mimic other medical conditions. 60 percent of the untreated patients will develop recurring arthritis (most often in the knees) that can persist from a few days to a few months. In the worst case scenario, 10 to 20 percent of the people will suffer chronic arthritis. Neurological symptoms will also develop—stiff neck, severe headache (may indicate meningitis), temporary paralysis of muscles in the face (Bell’s palsy), numbness, pain or weakness in the limbs and poor motor co-ordination.


2. What Should You Do to Prevent Lyme Disease?

They say prevention is better than cure? For this case, it applies a hundred times over. The absolute best way to prevent Lyme disease is to stay away from wooded areas. Heavily areas include Northeast, Upper Midwest and Northern California. However, that can be an unreasonable request if you love the outdoor or enjoy exploring wooded areas. If that is the case, take precautions—your next best bet. Wear protective clothing—long-sleeved shirts and long pants, preferably light in color to help you spot ticks, if any. Apply an insect repellent with DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Do a body inspection after you’ve been outdoors. If you find one, remove it with tweezers and see the doctor immediately. Taking antibiotics within 3 days’ of tick bite may prevent Lyme disease.

3. Is there a Vaccine for Lyme disease?

There used to be a vaccine for Lyme Disease but was discontinued due to low demand. Most cases can be treated with antibiotics.

4. What treatments are available?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded several studies that showed that patients can be cured within a few weeks of taking antibiotics. Oral antibiotics include doxycycline, amoxicillin or cefuroxime axetil. Patients with certain neurological or cardiac forms of illness may require intravenous treatments with drugs such as ceftriaxone or penicillin.

Proper nutrition and supplements can help to boost your immune system at this time to give your body the best chance to fight the disease. Antibiotics can strip the GI tract of good bacteria, producing side effects such as diarrhea and yeast infections. To replenish good bacteria wiped out, consider taking a probiotic supplement (containing Lactobacillus acidophilus). The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends taking 5 to 10 billion colony forming units (CFUs) a day.

Since inflammation is involved in Lyme disease, take Beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber, available at health stores and online specialty stores.

5. What about Complementary Medicine?

Don’t want too much synthetic medication in your body? Consider using herbs to strengthen the body and treat the disease. Consult your physician before taking herbs as some herbs can trigger side effects or interfere with medications.

Green Tea: Since green tea is not fermented, it contains high levels of catechins, an antioxidant polyphenol, that helps to capture damaging free radicals. It is also anti-inflammatory, making it a great herb to take while fighting Lyme disease.

Gingko biloba: A powerful antioxidant, it also promotes heart-health and enhances memory function.

Cat’s Claw: Antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammation—three good qualities to tame Lyme disease.

Reishi Mushroom: Helps to boost immunity and is anti-inflammatory.

Olive leaf and Garlic: Antibacterial, antifungal and great immunity boosters.

These herbs can be found as dried extracts in the forms of capsules, powders or tea. They also come as glycerine extracts (glycerites) or as tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, most of these herbs can be made into teas (steep 1 tsp. of herb in 1 cup of hot water—steep for 5 to 10 minutes). Drink 2 to 4 cups a day.

Watch this video about Lyme disease. So many symptoms are listed, you can possibly blame your "misbehavior," or any unexplained medical conditions to Lyme disease. On a serious note, undiagnosed and untreated Lyme disease can present many health problems.

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Comments 16 comments

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

It's true. Avoiding exposure is best, early treatment imperative!


itakins profile image

itakins 6 years ago from Irl

Such a worthwhile hub-Thank you.I am going to share it ,if that's ok!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago Author

RTallonic, you've been kind to visit my hubs (so many at one go) and I thank you very much for your contribution.

itakins,yes, please, the more the merrier. Thank you for droping by and I certainly appreciate your support.


The Green Guru profile image

The Green Guru 6 years ago

Luckily I have never had Lyme disease but this was an interesting hub. I like the natural treatments you have listed.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago Author

Good for you, Green Guru--Lyme disease is nasty. Glad you like the natural treatments--I'm all for natural treatments.


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 6 years ago from Central United States of America

Good information you gave here and I am glad you included the natural treatments to assist also. I have a friend who is crippled from Lyme disease and she saw many physicians before her DX - like you said.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago Author

frogyfish, always happy to see u. Thanks for your comments. Hopefully, your friend will find relief.


Teryn  5 years ago

I just wanted to say something for people who read this. You mentioned that you will get a bulls-eye rash when you are infected by Lyme after a tick bite. Only 80% of people actually get this rash and the other 20% don't see any signs of Lyme until later in life. I thought that people should know that the bulls-eye rash is not always present.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Teryn, thanks for pointing that out.


LymeLiterate profile image

LymeLiterate 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

They removed the vaccine off the market a long time ago because it was infecting people unless you are talking about another vaccine that has come out recently that I am unaware of. Check out my Lyme book, The Object of My Infection if you are looking for further reading. The vaccine was 1 thing I did tackle and all of my hubs are Lyme related! Thank you for getting more awareness out there! http://www.amazon.com/Object-My-Infection-Tara-Hul...


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, LymeLiterate, I've amended the question about vaccines. Appreciate your comments.


ForestBear profile image

ForestBear 5 years ago

This is good information,thank you for sharing. Great hub!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, forestbear!


CJ Sledgehammer 4 years ago

Thank you, Anglnwu, this was a well-written and interesting Hub. Voted up and away.

My son had 3 bull's-eye rings on his leg when he was very young. He had gone to visit his mother during the summer for a couple of weeks and I noticed these markings on his leg after he returned home to me.

I asked the doctor what it was and he didn't know. I have often thought that perhaps my son had lyme disease because he does seem to have exhibited some of those symptoms over the years, even though these bites were 12 years ago.

Thanks again for such an informative and useful Hub.

Best wishes and be well - C.J. Sledgehammer


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago Author

CJ Sledgehammer, thanks for sharing your story. Wow, to think the doctor didn't know...well.Thanks for dropping by to comment--appreciate it much.


RockyMountainMom profile image

RockyMountainMom 4 months ago from Montana

HI folks, it is Lyme disease awareness month, please take a look at ilads.org for a few important facts. There is not minimum attachment time. I contracted Lyme in less than 10 hours, for example. There are 30,ooo cases reported each year in the U.S. but the CDC estimates that closer to 330,000 or more people contract Lyme each year. Fewer than half of patients saw a rash and fewer than 30% even recall a tick bite. Current laboratory testing misses as many or more cases than it catches, and misses well over half of cases according to some studies. Lyme is a clinical diagnosis, but you may have trouble getting a proper diagnosis when doctors rely to heavily on lab tests or your geography to rule it out. Always check for ticks!

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