A List of The Most Common Questions About Lyme – stop the lyme lies
Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis or Bb) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria belonging to the genus Borrelia. Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto is the main cause of Lyme disease in North America, whereas Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii cause most European cases. The first known existence of the Borrelia bacteria dates back to up to 20 million years ago. The disease is named after the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme, Connecticut, US, where a number of cases were identified in 1975. Although it was known that Lyme disease was a tick-borne disease as far back as 1978, the cause of the disease remained a mystery until 1981, when B. burgdorferi was identified by entomologist Dr. Willy Burgdorfer.
More information can be found here.
What do I do if I am bitten by a tick?
Remove the tick! Use fine-tipped tweezers, please do NOT handle a tick with your bare hands. Try to grab the tick as close as you can to your skin & its mouth. If you grab squeeze the body you could actually push the contents of the tick into your skin. Gently pull it straight up and out, do not twist or screw it. Do NOT use chemicals of any description or burn the tick off, this will cause the tick to regurgitate bacteria into your skin. After the tick has been removed, wash the area with peroxide if you have it or a lot of warm, soapy water. If you save the tick for testing (highly recommended) place the tick in a jar or a ziplock plastic bad with a damp cotton ball or tissue. Testing a dried out tick is virtually impossible. Igenex does tick testing. There are now free tick testing services, which varies state by state & country by country. You can Google 'free tick testing in your state/area'
Most people never get the bullseye rash & assume that they are ok. This can prove FATAL. Lyme can lie dormant for 30 years or more. Being lazy or trusting the CDC (Center for Disease Control) could cost you your life. It is suggested by 99.9% of Lyme advocates that you get to your healthcare provider as soon as possible and DEMAND 6 weeks of antibiotics such as Doxycycline (Amoxicillin for children under 12 years of age). Obviously, this won't help with any viral infections that may pop up, but it will help with the bacterial infections. If you are refused, you can buy antibiotics online if necessary. Here are a list of reputable pharmacies.
What are the symptoms of Lyme Disease?
How long do you have? Lyme has been documented to mimic over 360 different diseases. The list of symptoms are endless and can vary from person to person. Here is good list.
How is Lyme transmitted?
There are so many myths surrounding the transmission of Lyme Disease. Most people believe that the ONLY way to get Lyme Disease is via the bite of an infected tick. Nothing could be further from the truth! Lyme can be spread in many different ways. Here are the most common forms of transmission. (Please be aware that new facts about Lyme are emerging on a daily basis) Bites of Ticks and Other Arthropods (sand fleas, mites, mosquitoes, fleas and other arthropods.), Contact Transmission (urine), Sexual transmission, Mother to baby (in utero), Blood Transfusions & Organ Transplantation, possibly saliva and researchers at the University of Wisconsin have reported that dairy cattle can be infected with Bb, hence milk could be contaminated. In depth articles/proof can be found here.
I hear a lot of people talk about co-infections. What are they?
In a nutshell, co-infections are 'opportunistic' infections that are normally carried by ticks, mosquitoes and other arthropods. Co-infections can be bacterial, viral, protozoa, parasites etc. For more (very) detailed information on co-infections please click here.
Where can I be tested for Lyme?
At the time of this post, Igenex is the most reliable test out there. If you call, fax or email Igenex they will send you the testing kit for free. You then need to provide details and a signature of a doctor that is willing to receive the test results via fax. You then select the test that you wish to have on the paper provided in the test kit (normally the basic test, which costs around $260 dollars), have the blood drawn, pay the $260 and return in the provided FEDEX package, next day delivery. They DO ship outside of the USA, but you should contact them to see if your country is one of their 'ship to' destinations.
You could visit your healthcare provider and be given the substandard ELISA or Western Blot test, but most of those seem to come back negative, even if you are positive. Here is a list of labs that test for Lyme and co-infections.
What co-infections should I test for?
Unless you are filthy rich (and you won't be for much longer if you have Lyme!) I personally would start off with the basic Lyme panel from Igenex ($260.00 dollars at the time of posting & some insurance covers it). Then, depending on whether you have Lyme, go from there.
The most common tests are: Babesia, Bartonella, Mycoplasma, Flavivirus, Cytomeglovirus, Chlamydophila Pneumoniae, Rickettsiarickettsii, EBV (Epstein–Barr virus aka: human herpesvirus 4 (HHV-4)) - this seems to reactivate in Lyme. A lot of the herpes viral infections seem to be common as well as Protomyxzoa Rheumatica (previously known as fl1953). Fry Labs specifically tests for (and as far as I know is the ONLY lab that currently test for Protomyxzoa Rheumatica), which oddly enough is MORE common in Lyme than we realize.
What are my treatment options?
Antibiotics, herbals, homeopathy, detox, rife, iMRS, nutritional therapy. The list goes on and on. Lyme is HARD to get rid of and the longer you leave it or procrastinate on which treatment option is best the harder it will be to treat. Here are a list of protocols that you can try with or without an LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor). Antibiotics are not always the answer. Recent studies have shown that it clears up the bacteria free flowing in you blood stream, but does not actually penetrate deep tissues and biofilms.
I keep hearing Lymies talk about MTHFR mutations. What are they?
Whoa! MTHFR is complicated. Way too much to explain in a Q&A. Please see this post for a BASIC explanation of MTHFR. Here is a site dedicated to MTHFR with some great resources. My best advice? Seek the advice of someone that is an expert in the field of MTHFR. (Names can be found on the link above)
I've been tested for Lyme, now how do I decipher the results?
You can find information on Igenex test results here. This link provides more general information on IgG & IgM.
Of course, an LLMD can do this for you. Sorry, but we CANNOT read individual test results. There are some great Lyme groups on Facebook that might be willing to read your results if you cannot afford an LLMD.
How long will treatment take?
It depends on how long you have been sick, what co-infections you have and whether or not you have any mutations such as MTHFR, as well as parasites, candida, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal issues (ie: sex hormones and thyroid). It varies. I have known people that have been sick for 40+ years and others that have recovered in 2 years. Sorry there is no straight answer.
What is a herx?
How can I find a Lyme Literate doctor in my area?
Contacting ILADS is a great way to get a physician referral. Use their website: www.ilads.org or call them at 301-263-1080. ILADS is the "gatekeeper" for most Lyme-literate physicians in the USA & they should be able to help source information abroad.
How much should I expect to spend on Lyme treatment?
Honestly? A lot. A lot of Lyme patients have lost their homes, jobs, depleted their bank accounts, sold everything & lost everything. I've heard of people that have spent as little as $5000-$10,000 and some that have spent millions. Yes, millions! It's not called a 'rich disease' for nothing.