What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection characterized by a skin rash, flu -like symptoms and swollen joints. It is caused by a bacterium known as spirochete, usually found in animals such as deer and mice. Ticks are very small, approximately the size of a sesame seed and often quite unnoticeable.
They live in tall grass, shrubs and woody areas, and are commonly found in the rural and suburban areas in midwestern and northeastern states of the United States. They may also be found other parts of the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. These ticks usually emerge during spring in the months of May, June and July.
Lyme disease is not contagious and may not be transmitted from person to person. If individuals spend a lot of time in grassy, wooded areas, they are more likely to develop Lyme disease. It is therefore very important to practice safety precautions when venturing into tick-infested areas.
Diagnosing Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms may often resemble other diseases. The diagnosis is based on a physical examination as well as medical history. If a classic red rash is presented during the early stages of Lyme disease, then a diagnosis can be made.
Blood testing for antibodies is usually performed during the later stages of the disease. The antibodies are checked by using Elisa laboratory tests confirmed with a Western blot test.
Please note: As there is some evidence to suggest that Lyme disease may be passed through the embilical cord during pregnancy, if you are planning to conceive ask your doctor to screen for Lyme Disease as a precautionary measure.
Early symptoms and signs of Lyme Disease include (7-10 days):
Later symptoms which may develop include (months to years):
- Arthritis affecting the knees and hips
- Abnormalities in the nervous system
- Heart problems
What Causes Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called a spirochete (Borrelia burgdorferi). This disease is carried most commonly by deer and mice which serve as a host to the tick. These ticks bite the skin, thus allowing the bacterium to infect the body. Tick bites can spread Lyme disease to animals, and then be transmitted to humans.
Help for Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is generally treated with antibiotics. If this disease is diagnosed in its early stages, it responds very well to treatment (14-30 days). To relieve joint pain and stiffness, anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed. However, if left untreated Lyme disease may spread to the joints, heart or nervous system.
Natural and alternative treatments have had great success in reducing the symptoms of Lyme disease. Treatments such as herbal remedies are safe and effective to use without the harsh side effects of prescription drugs. Two well known African herbs such as Hypoxis Rooperi (extract of African Potato) and Agathosma Betulina (also known as buchu) supports the immune system, act as a natural convalescent, supportive tonic and diuretic.
Other herbal ingredients such as Mentha Piperita, Solidago Virgaurea (also known as Goldenrod) and Viscum Album promote the body’s natural flow of bile, helps to fight infection, and support healthy circulation.
More Information on Lyme Disease
In order to prevent Lyme Disease, one has to follow certain safety
precautions and they include:
- Avoid tick-infested areas like the woods, or bushy, overgrown areas with tall grass
- Wear light colored clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, long pants tucked into socks, shoes, hat and gloves when walking in areas where ticks are found
- Use insect repellant sparingly on your skin and clothing when entering high risk areas – remember to always read the directions on the labels
- Remove brush and leaves in your yard and keep grass mowed
- Stack woodpiles in a dry area off the ground
- Spray insect repellant in your yard if you live in a wooded area
- Check your skin as well as your children’s skin for ticks after spending time outdoors
- Check your pets for ticks
- Keep the ground under bird feeders clean
- Remove a tick with a pair of tweezers by pulling it firmly and slowly
- Be extra vigilant during the months of May, June and July when ticks transmit Lyme disease