Category Archives: Co-infections

Guest Post: Top Ten Tips to Prevent Chronic Lyme Disease

logoteEveryone, everywhere should read these tips from experts at the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), reproduced here from the ILADS website with permission.  

Chronic Lyme disease patients may face a long hard fight to wellness. People with chronic Lyme can have many debilitating symptoms, including severe fatigue, anxiety, headaches, and joint pain. Without proper treatment, chronic Lyme patients have a poorer quality of life than patients with diabetes or a heart condition.

The fact is Lyme is a complex disease that can be highly difficult to diagnose. Reliable diagnostic tests are not yet available which leaves many—patients and physicians alike—relying on the so called “telltale signs” of Lyme disease: discovery of a tick on the skin, a bull’s eye rash, and possibly joint pain. However, ILADS research indicates that only 50%-60% of patients recall a tick bite; the rash is reported in only 35% to 60% of patients; and joint swelling typically occurs in only 20% to 30% of patients. Given the prevalent use of over the counter anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, joint inflammation is often masked.

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Video: Musician Daryl Hall Tells His Lyme Disease Story

Seems like years since I’ve heard a Hall and Oates song, but this interview on YouTube sure caught my eye. I’m so glad famous people like Daryl are sharing their personal lyme stories.

Notice how his symptoms gradually built up until the day he crashed and couldn’t ignore them any more. If more people knew about how often lyme—”the great imitator”— is mistaken for other things, they could get on the path to good health sooner.

Also take note: he’s recovering – you will, too.

Killing Good Bacteria with the Bad

Do the probiotics I take replace the good bacteria wiped out by antibiotics?

Do the probiotics I take replace the good bacteria wiped out by antibiotics?

I’m pretty tired of that perky Jamie Lee Curtis and her “Activia” ads on television. Yeah, I’ll admit it, maybe I’m just jealous that she looks so damned good at her age, while I feel my own looks sliding into oblivion as the years slide by.

But I’ll admit she delivers an important message in those yogurt ads—good bacteria promote digestive health. And I’ve learned they do much more.

A riveting article by Michael Specter titled “Germs are Us” in the October 12 (2012) New Yorker magazine addresses this question: “Bacteria make us sick. Do they also keep us alive?”

Specter reports that “…the destruction of bacteria may contribute to Crohn’s disease, obesity, asthma, and many other chronic illnesses.”

As if I didn’t have enough to worry about with threatening bacteria like Borrelia burgdorferi and Babesia microti roving my body and making me sick, I’m quite concerned that antibiotic treatment is killing too many good guys among the tens of thousands of bacteria species in my body. Continue reading

Video: Did You Know Ticks Can Transmit Lots of Infections—Like Babesiosis?

I’m very lucky to have wonderful neighbors. One of them, Marilyn, called me the other day to say she’d seen this segment of “Monsters Inside Me” on Discovery’s Animal Planet. It explores the case of a Lyme patient who was not recovering, and her doctor’s discovery that she had babesia caused by the parasite Babesia microti. Marilyn knows I’m being treated for Lyme and wanted to make sure I knew about this co-infection. She got the message: Lyme patients with babesia need treatment for that along with Lyme in order to recover. I’m also lucky to have a Lyme literate doctor who checked me for co-infections at the start because I had soaking night sweats, a key symptom; my treatment is going well. Babesia can also cause the spleen to rupture; read one patient’s story here. The good news is, babesia can be treated. But first it has to be diagnosed. Please, share this video to help get the word out. And if you want lots more information on babesia symptoms and treatment, see this video by Dr. Robert Horowitz of the Hudson Valley Healing Arts Center in New York. 

Lyme: Lessons Learned

Taking care of yourself isn’t, well, rocket science…
[Dr. Robert Goddard. Credit: NASA on Flickr/The Commons]

I’ve had the misfortune of getting re-infected just as I was pulling out of two-plus years during which I was largely sidelined by lyme and other tick-borne infections. There’s a bit of good news, however. I learned a few things the first time around, and I’m doing things differently.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned. Maybe you can benefit by taking them to heart now, instead of learning the hard way like I did over time and missing out on benefits you could have enjoyed much, much sooner. Continue reading

Video: Tiny Lyme-Carrying Ticks — Know What You’re Looking For

You’ve probably read that ticks carrying lyme disease and other infections can be the size of a poppy seed. Sure, you’ve seen the seeds adorning muffins. But this video PSA with Katie Seeley makes you stop and focus on just how tiny they truly are.

It’s important to know what you are looking for, so that when you check yourself or your kids for ticks, you’re looking as closely as humanly possible. Someone I know pulled a speck from his skin with tweezers thinking it was just a minute scab, until he looked at it up close and saw tiny legs waving at him.

Indeed, these ticks are so small that I missed the one that reinfected me when it first latched onto my thigh. Despite my fanatical body check (I was recovering from a previous infection, so believe me, I was motivated never to be bitten again), the infinitesimal tick eluded me until it had been embedded in my skin for a couple of days and caused some irritation…by which time it had transmitted its dangerous cargo, causing my health to crash again.

Remove an infected tick soon after it bites, and you may well never be infected. Seek proper treatment right away if you are infected, and by most accounts you will feel great soon. Miss the infection for some weeks, months, or years—and you could be in for a world of trouble beyond anything you ever imagined.

So check out this video, and mind Benjamin Franklin’s words: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Lymenade, which produced this video with And What Productions, is no more. But the group’s creative work to get the word out about the lyme epidemic lives on. Learn more in the videos following “Poppy Seed,” above.

And to see a New York Times video on how a tick sticks to the skin, click here.