Tick-borne Diseases

Transmission

Lyme disease is a bacterial spirochete (organism) transmitted by ticks.  Myth -You can only get Lyme disease from a deer tick. This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Any tick of any size can carry Lyme and/or other co-infections, such as Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Bartonella, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia and Powassan.  Recent studies have also shown that ANY biting insect (mosquitoes, horse flies, deer flies, spiders, fleas, wasps & mites) may also carry these diseases. (Check out the interview between Dr. Mercola & Dr. Klinghardt to hear the latest on this topic.) Myth – A tick needs to be attached for 24 hours before transmission takes place. The truth is that transmission can occur within a few hours.  Many people do not even know that they were bitten by a tick.  A blood transfusion with Lyme-infected blood may transmit the disease to the recipient. Some specialist medical researchers believe that Lyme, or other tick-borne diseases, can be sexually transmitted, although there has never been any research to confirm or deny it. Lyme spirochetes have been found in many bodily fluids. It can also cross the placenta into the fetus when the mother is infected with the bacteria.

Symptoms

Estimates show that ONLY one out of every ten Lyme cases is reported.  Lyme disease and the co-infections listed above can be misdiagnosed because their symptoms mimic other diseases.  Myth – If you do not have a “bullseye” rash, you do not have Lyme disease. Actually, less than half the people who are infected with Lyme have a bullseye rash.  Lyme disease & other tick-borne co-infections can attack any system in the body.  Some of the first symptoms mimic the flu, such as fatigue, headache, achiness, chills, fever and stiff neck.  A partial list of other symptoms can include pain in joints/muscles, neurological problems (migraines, light-headedness, brain-fog, poor short-term memory, ringing in ears), gastrointestinal issues (constipation, diarrhea, bladder dysfunction), reproductive problems (testicular/pelvic pain, menstrual irregularity, loss of libido), mood swings, depression, irritability and many, many other symptoms.  Please check out this link to see all of the symptoms of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.  These symptoms often mimic other diseases like lupus, crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, etc.  Lyme disease symptoms may come and go and be replaced by different symptoms.  Time is of the essence if you’ve been bitten by a tick.  Call the office & Dr. Onnie can quickly test you to see if you need further medical assistance.

Tick Removal

The tick should be removed by pulling it slowly straight out with fine-pointed tweezers as close to the skin as possible.  Do not grasp, squeeze or twist the body of the tick. Do not burn, use petroleum jelly, alcohol or any other substance to remove the tick.  Aggravating the tick may cause the infected fluids to enter the wound site.  Do not kill ticks by pinching them between your fingernails.  The infected fluids may get under your fingernails & into your bloodstream.  You can use antiseptic on the site of the tick bite after the tick is removed.  Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling a tick and disinfect the tweezers.

Prevention

Most importantly, perform frequent tick checks on yourself, children and pets. Wear light colored clothing so you can see the ticks better. Tuck shirt into pants & pants into socks to make it more difficult for the tick to crawl under your clothing and onto your skin. Depending on your exposure risk, you can use a DEET product on your exposed skin & wash off as soon as done being outdoors.  Use Permethrin for your clothes, boots & shoes.  Be sure to spray your items outside & allow them to completely dry before wearing.  Do not use near water as it will harm the aquatic life.  We offer an organic insect repellent that works really well from Ticks-N-All for $12.49.  Garlic is also a natural repellent.  Incorporate lots of fresh garlic in your diet or supplement with garlic pills.

It is extremely important to keep your immune system healthy to ward off a tick-borne infection.  Since everyone is different, nutritional supplementation will vary from person to person.  Dr. Onnie will test you to see what supplements you need to keep your immune system healthy.  If you wish to schedule this quick test, please call to make your Tick Challenge appointment (current patients only).

References

Most of this information was taken from these websites.  They are great resources to keep yourself informed.

Turn the Corner Foundation

www.ilads.org

www.lymediseaseassociation.org

http://www.lymepa.org/Basics2007v1.2landscape.pdf

Podcasts

The American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) has several podcasts on tick-borne diseases.  If you are interested in hearing more technical information about tick-borne diseases, you may listed to the podcasts on iTunes.  The tick-borne illness podcasts are numbers 19, 16, 13, 10, 7 & 5.

Documentary

Under Our Skin is an amazing, eye-opening documentary of tick-borne disease.  You may watch the movie on NetFlix via streaming, order it via your local library or purchase it online at www.underourskin.com.

Recommended Books

Healing Lyme: Natural Healing & Prevention of Lyme Boreliosis and Its Co-infections by Stephen Buhner

Insights into Lyme Disease Treatment by Connie Strasheim