Historically, the established medical treatment for Lyme disease has been two to three weeks of antibiotics, typically Doxycline for adults and Amoxycillin for children. However, many Lyme literate practitioners are now using 4-6 weeks of antibiotics or longer to treat the disease. And, many Lyme patients are treating the illness and managing symptoms using alternative therapies which include but are not limited to: herbs, vitamins and mineral supplements, homeopathic, bioidentical hormones, hyperbaric oxygen, ozone, frequency devices such as the Rife machine, heavy metal chelation, Traditional Chinese Medicine and more. Patients with financial means are traveling overseas for treatments such as stem cells, which are not currently available in the United States.
Allopathic medicine might be described as taking a “kill the bugs” approach, which works for some people, who take antibiotics and recover their health. The CDC has estimated that 10-20% of patients remain ill after antibiotic therapy. A recent patient survey by a Lyme organization showed that roughly 35% of patients remained ill after antibiotics, even when diagnosed and treated early in the illness. A separate study by Dr. John Aucott of Johns Hopkins University, found that up to 50% of patients remained ill after antibiotic therapy.
Dr. Kim Lewis at Northeastern University is conducting groundbreaking research on “persister cells” and antibiotic resistance for various infections including MRSA and tuberculosis. Persisters are cells whose only responsibility is to survive; they go dormant to make it through antibiotic attacks. One of Dr. Lewis’ recent studies confirmed that up to 1% of Borrelia cells can survive lethal doses of antibiotics in vitro. Dr. Monica Embers and colleagues confirmed that Borrelia can persist in vivo after antibiotic treatment, in their study conducted on rhesus monkeys.
For people with persistent symptoms after antibiotic treatment, there is currently no standard or clear cut medical path to recovery. However many Lyme literate practitioners from different disciplines believe that in the absence of one “cure,” the goal is strengthen the immune system, as a strong immune system is able to keep the Lyme bacteria in check. Patients who are dealing with long-term complications from Lyme infection often use a mixture of “killing the bugs” and building up the body’s immune defenses.
Lyme Nation knows patients who were able to recover from Lyme and co-infections only through long-term IV antibiotic treatment, and other patients who were not able to tolerate antibiotics at all, recovering only through the use of alternative therapies. For this reason, Lyme Nation is “treatment neutral” – we believe that individual patients and their physicians must have the right to make whatever treatment decisions are best for the patient at any given time.
Lyme Nation is “treatment neutral” – we believe that individual patients and their physicians must have the right to make whatever treatment decisions are best for the patient at any given time.
You’ve probably heard a number of tips on how to prevent getting Lyme disease. Here, with a little bit of humor, are ours:
Wear protection. Before heading to the great outdoors, use bug repellent on yourself and your clothes. Some people use DEET on their skin and PERMETHRIN on their clothes. Other folks who are chemically sensitive prefer organic essential oil based repellents. The Environmental Protection Agency has some interesting information about insect repellents including a handy interactive form that lets you input what ingredients you are seeking to find or avoid, duration you need protection and more. According to studies done by the US Army, yarrow tincture is even more effective at repelling mosquitoes and ticks than DEET. The problem is, it doesn’t last as long (DEET packs a 12 hour punch). Renowned herbalist Susan Weed recommends re-applying yarrow tincture every 20-30 minutes if you are in a dense insect area, or every hour if you are in a less buggy spot.
Don’t run around naked in nature. We love nature, but Lyme disease carrying critters do too. If you are hiking, stay on paths and avoid plunging into the woods, brush or dunes. Wear long sleeves, tuck your pants into your boots if possible, wear a hat and keep your hair under it. Wearing light colored clothes makes it easier to see ticks if they get on you.
Heat ’em up. When you get home, put your clothes and any bag or backpack that’s been in the woods with you into your dryer on “high” setting for 20 minutes. This has been shown to kill ticks. Wash your clothes AFTER putting them in the dryer.
Check, check, check. Those tiny ticks can crawl just about anywhere, so check yourselves and your family members wherever an almost microscopically small insect might hide. This means your hairline and scalp, ears, bellybutton, pubic area, underarms – you want to do a whole body scan, as ticks can and do latch on anywhere.
Keep it clean. Taking a hot shower or bath after you have returned from being outside is good practice, because it will wash off any ticks that have gotten onto you, but not latched on yet.
Woof and meow. Your dogs and cats can bring ticks into your home where they can fall off and then latch onto you. We know that you love to cuddle in bed with your cat or dog, but we don’t want you to end up cuddling with Lyme disease. Check your pets for ticks regularly, and speak with your veterinarian about the best methods for keeping Fido and Fluffy tick and Lyme free.
De-clutter. Keeping the area around your home neat will help decrease habitats for ticks to hide out in. Keep the grass in your yard cut short. Move wood piles and leaves away from your home. Some people put a perimeter of gravel or other stone around their house. Keep shrubs and other plantings away from the side of your house. If you live in deer country, you may want to consider putting up deer fences. Some people use non-toxic cedar oil to spray the grounds of their property to discourage ticks.