Updated: Jun 15
May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month. This article is timely since we approaching the warmer months and the ticks are literally coming out to play! Camping, hiking, gardening, and lawn care are just some of the ways we can come into contact with these unpleasant, tiny insects. Prevention is key, doing your best to keep the nasty little ticks off of you! Read Part 2 to learn more on prevention. If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease, please read on. Perhaps you will find pieces of information that will help support your journey of health & healing.
☆ What is Lyme Disease?
Transmitted to humans by the bite of deer ticks (Ixodes ticks) carrying a bacterium known as Borrelia burgdorferi. Ticks in the young stage feed off rodents, mainly White Footed Mice carrying the Lyme bacteria and possible co-infections. When the ticks are older/larger, they move onto deer as their new hosts. If a tick that is a carrier of the disease-causing microbe bites you, you may contact this disease. However, not all ticks carry these bad microbes. Black-legged (deer) ticks are the most common type of tick transmitting the Lyme disease bacterium from host to host. In most places in the Northeastern U.S., as many as 20% of Black-legged tick nymphs and 50% of adult females are infected. If you are bitten by a tick, remove it right away, then identify it. (Tickencounter.org)
You can have a tick tested for infection to better assess your risk of infection. Ticks that have attached for less than 24 hrs are not likely to have transmitted infection, but microbes are stealthy and can sometimes find their way into the host speedily. I utilize the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Lab. There is a $15 fee. Info:
UMaine Extension Diagnostic & Research Lab
ATTN: Tick Testing Lab
17 Godfrey Drive
Orono, ME 04473-3692
☆ How to remove a Tick:
Use fine-tipped tweezers to remove a tick. If you don't have tweezers, put on gloves or cover your hands with tissue paper, then use your fingers. Do not handle the tick with bare hands. I like the Tick Remover Spoon: https://smile.amazon.com/TickCheck-Tick-Remover-Spoon-Carabiner/dp/B07K4F66LH/
Grab the tick as close to its mouth (the part that is stuck in your skin) as you can. The body of the tick will be above your skin.
Do not grab the tick around its swollen belly. You could push infected fluid from the tick into your body if you squeeze it.
Gently pull the tick straight out until its mouth lets go of your skin. Do not twist the tick. This may break off the head leaving it in your skin.
Put tick in a dry jar or ziplock bag and save it for later identification if necessary. Suggestion: Take to a Veterinary for identification or mail it out to a lab.
After tick removal, wash hands and the area of tick bite with warm water + soap, and apply a drop of rubbing alcohol or Tea Tree oil on bite area.
☆ Follow up directly after tick experience:
Remove tick: If possible, remove tick and place tick in jar and take to local veterinarian to identify the type of tick.
Clean and rub bite area with: Tea tree, oregano, hyssop, grapefruit or essential oil. Rubbing alcohol will work fine if you do not have essential oils on hand.
Call you Primary Care Provider ASAP and inform them you have a tick bite. Lyme caught early is considered Acute, and can have successful treatment with a round of antibiotics. Note: Chronic Lyme does not respond as well to antibiotics.
You can also consider taking herbal antibiotics + probiotics: Echinacea, goldenseal, oregano, garlic, olive leaf, thyme, cat's claw, and/or ginger.
☆ Diagnosis & Treatment Options:
In order to diagnose Lyme disease with one of the commercial tests, you must first treat it, in order for white blood cells to mount an immune response. Only then can a lab test detect the presence of Lyme disease. The ELISA enzyme test is often ordered first. The Western Blot test is the confirming, follow-up test.
* Within 3 days of being bitten by a tick, many people will develop a red spot that never expands to bigger than a dime. This is an allergic reaction to the substance that the tick releases. However, continue to watch the site. If the red spot grows in size over a period of a week, bigger than two inches, then it is likely to be a sign that you are infected with the Lyme disease agent. Rashes take on various forms and sizes. The typical bulls eye does not present in everyone and it is not the only sign of infection. Note:
Contact your Primary Care Provider: Often times, if caught early, Lyme infections can be treated with rounds of antibiotics.
Controversy surrounds the issue of chronic Lyme disease treatment. While some support long-term antibiotics for treatment, this approach has potentially harmful side effects. I recommend considering alternatives such supplementation & diet.
Note on Co-Infections from Maine Lyme website: “While Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease, there are several other diseases that can be transmitted during the bite of an infected tick. Not all ticks are infected, and not all ticks have or transmit all co-infections equally. Co-infections can result is a more severe acute illness. When one is aggressively treated for Lyme, and is not able to achieve a resolution of symptoms, you should be highly suspicious of a co-infection.”
☆ Physical Symptoms of Lyme (not all inclusive list):
Skin irritation at site of bite, often red rash or a bull’s eye ring
Flu like symptoms (chills, body aches)
Joint pain (especially knees and elbows)
Muscle spasms and muscle lethargy
Nerve pain (sharp pains)
☆ Natural Supplementation & Diet Treatment Support:
Natural Antibiotics, such as Echinacea, garlic, oregano, ginger, goldenseal.
Probiotics to improve immunity and restore flora during and after antibiotics. Reputable brands of Probiotics: Pure, Garden of Life, & Rainbow Light.
Curcumin/Turmeric reduces neurological toxins and brain swelling.
Astaxanthin to neutralize toxins & relieve joint pain, common in Lyme.
Whey protein or plant based protein powder concentrate may help with nutrition, often poor in Lyme patients who don’t feel well enough to eat properly. Look for organic!
Krill oil (Omega 3) to reduce overall inflammation.
Resveratrol may target Bartonella (a co-infection) and also helps detoxification.
GABA & Melatonin to help with insomnia.
Inner Defense Supplement from Young Living. Can support the Immune System.
Reishi is a mushroom with immune strengthening properties.
CoQ10 to support cardiac health and reduce muscle pain and brain fog.
Sweet Wormwood (Artesmia) is a bitter botanical studied for its anti-parasitic, anti-microbial properties, including helping to eradicate Borrelia.
Cat’s Claw is an herb that is a powerful anti-inflammatory, immunity sustainer, and anti-bacterial. Popular for Lyme Disease care.
* Your supplement Inventory- Obtaining these supplements can be quite a process, but I can find many of them on VitaCost: https://www.kqzyfj.com/click-8855512-15266900
☆ Personality Traits in people who have Lyme:
Type A Personality/perfectionist
Mood swings/ highs & lows
Tend to be scatter-brained or foggy minded
Sensitive to touch (nervous and muscular system inflammation)
Chronic fatigue, lacking enthusiasm or motivation
If Lyme is chronic and long standing, significant cognitive issues can occur such as hindered memory and thought processing.
Finally, if you get bitten by a tick, I HIGHY SUGGEST sending the tick away to a lab for testing. That way you can know what that tick may be carrying for infections. It may give you peace of mind, or at the very least, prepare you for a necessary treatment plan. More information on this in the Part 2 of the Lyme disease blog posts!
Disclaimer: This information is intended for educational purposes only, and NOT intended as medical health care claims, cures, or therapies. Please consult with your doctor/specialist if you have any health concerns or questions about herbal medicine.
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