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Preventing & Treating Lyme Disease (Humans + Dogs)

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Once segregated to small regions of the US, Lyme disease is now rapidly spreading throughout the country.  In fact, the CDC is claiming it is reaching epidemic numbers and is much more serious than most people realize.  A recent study(1) estimates the medical insurance cost of treating Lyme disease to be in excess of $1 Billion each year in the US alone, yet many patients do not respond to traditional medicine and suffer the debilitating symptoms of chronic Lyme disease each day.  

In this post, we're going to talk about a completely natural method of both preventing AND treating Lyme disease that is both inexpensive and simple to follow.  Not only has it shown great success in completely healing Lyme, but you also won't need to expose yourself to pharmaceuticals that have a very poor rate of success.  There are many confirmed cases of both people (and the pets they treat) fully recovering from Lyme in a remarkably short time period following this natural protocol.  Let's get educated on what Lyme disease is and how we can get it.  Then, let's talk about how to not only treat it, but also follow a prevention regimen that can protect both yourself and your furry friends from contracting it in the first place! 

What Is Lyme Disease

Deer tick (also known as the blacklegged tick)Lyme disease is a vector-borne disease, meaning that it is caused by an infectious bacteria transmitted to people by blood-sucking insects.  In this case it is caused by a bacteria called borrelia burgdorferia, and transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected deer tick (also knows as the blacklegged tick - see image).  To view the life cycle of the deer tick, click here.

Not all ticks carry infectious diseases, and only the deer tick transmits Lyme disease.  In most cases, the tick that transmits the disease is an immature (young) tick that is the size of a poppy seed, making it very difficult to find.  Many Lyme disease sufferers had no idea they have even been bitten.

Hidden Epidemic

Let's look at some important statistics:

  • There are roughly 300,000 new Lyme disease of reported cases logged each year.  But as many cases go unreported, the real number is much higher with some experts estimating well over 1 million.
  • Lyme disease is now reported in 49 of 50 states and 65 countries worldwide.
  • Lyme disease is one of the fastest growing infectious diseases in the US, with numbers and geographic footprint growing rapidly.  It is now a serious and important public health issue.

Lyme disease in the USSource:  Bay Area Lyme Foundation

In some states, the number of infected ticks found through studies spans the entire state.  In California alone, 42 of 58 counties have infected ticks.  But the amount of ticks in any given area can vary greatly.  For example, one park may have an infestation of ticks carrying the culprit bacteria, whereas 2 miles away, ticks may be practically non-existent.

Know the symptoms

Because many of the symptoms of Lyme disease are benign and easy to miss in the early stages, they are dismissed as a cold or flu, age-related, or general wear and tear on the body.  There is also an overlap with symptoms of other conditions and because it mimics other illnesses, doctors often do not consider Lyme disease as a possibility until it has become chronic.  

Emily Adrion, researcher at Johns Hopkins University and lead author on a new Lyme disease study states that in the beginning states, Lyme is much more treatable, but the longer you go without treatment, the more serious the symptoms can become making it increasingly difficult to both identify and treat.  Not only that, treatments are expensive and frequently harmful with many people not responding to antibiotics, or responding to the point that symptoms are relieved yet the disease is pushed into remission to later be triggered by illness or stress.

Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can vary greatly, with some people more affected than others.  Joints, nervous system, and skin are the most commonly affected:

Early signs & symptoms

 

Later signs & symptoms

  • Flu-like symptoms.
  • Bull's-eye rash (small, red bump expanding into a rash resembling a bull's-eye pattern).  This rash can develop in just the bite area or can also appear in other areas of the body.
 
  • Muscle and joint pain.
  • Numbness and tingling.
  • Debilitating fatigue.
  • Cognitive impairment (inability to think or articulate thoughts clearly, short-term memory loss).
  • Neurological symptoms than can progress into conditions such as meningitis and Bell's Palsy.

Co-Infections & Other Tick-Borne Diseases

Compounding the problem, there are multiple co-infections that many people contract when bitten by a tick, as well as the Lyme itself.  Lyme disease is also one of several other diseases that can be contracted from infected ticks.  Others include:

  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Bartonellosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Tularemia
  • STARI (Southern tick-associated rash illness)

For more information about these diseases and their symptoms, click here.

Keep In Mind...

If you discover a tick on your body, don't panic!  Keep in mind that even though Lyme disease cases are significantly on the rise, only a small percentage of tick bites lead to humans and pets contracting this or other diseases, however the longer the tick remains attached, the greater your risk of infection.

Preventing Lyme Disease

The best protection is prevention.  Here are some simple and easy-to-follow steps to help protect yourself, your family, and your pets from tick-borne illnesses:

General Preventative Measures

Familiarize yourself with the types of ticks in your area

There are different types of ticks.  Some have the potential to carry Lyme disease, whereas others can carry RMSF (another serious disease).  Ticks commonly carry multiple strains of bacteria that not only transmit Lyme or RMSF, but also give their host other co-infections.  Check out the TickEncounter Resource Center to find out which ticks are active in your area (or an area you may be visiting).

Protect your body when walking & hiking

During the warm and summer months when ticks are an issue, follow these important protective steps:
 
Avoid Tall Grasses & Brush
When on trails, stick to the middle and avoid brush and long grasses.  Be especially careful to avoid sitting on logs or leaning on trees (this goes for dogs too).

Rose Geranium

Cover Bare Skin
If in an area where tick presence is very high, protect your bare skin by keeping it covered with light-colored long pants and sleeves.  This makes it easy to see any ticks.  Tuck pants into socks as ticks are notorious for climbing shoes and socks to reach bare skin.  Sometimes, covering your body on a day that is already sweltering hot seems like an unbearable solution.  That's when tick-repelling sprays and oils come in handy.

Use Tick-Repelling Essential Oils, especially Rose Geranium

ALWAYS AVOID products like Deet or other solutions that contain very toxic chemicals that are then absorbed by your skin and tissues.  Not sure if it is questionable?  Simply look at the label.  If you see any chemicals that are not essential oils or derived from plants or minerals, toss them.  Not only are they dangerous and negatively impact organs and tissues, but they are also unnecessary.  

The most powerful tick repellents on this planet are comprised of essential oils which, in clinical studies, out-perform Deet and other toxic sprays and creams.  In the Mediterranean, the power of essential oils is well-known and they are used extensively.  Many gardens are strategically created using plants that are natural mosquito and tick repellents such as rosemary and lavender.  There are several different to choose from, some sold in a combination of multiple oils that repel a variety of species.  These oils include lavender, lemon, citronella, sage/clary sage, bergamot, cedarwood, lemon eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, geranium, sweet orange, and rosemary.
 
When in tick areas, we use rose geranium exclusively and nothing else.  Rose geranium oil is especially successful at repelling fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.  Look for the species "Pelargonium capitatum x raden" which contains the constituents that repel ticks (other species don't).  Unlike many essential oils, rose geranium does not need to be diluted when used in small doses.  Place one drop on each wrist and one on each ankle.  For dogs, one drop on the back of the neck and one at the base of the tail (part fur to place drop on skin surface).  The scent is very strong, but the good news is that it smells lovely!  Do this once daily.  Do NOT use more as it is both unnecessary and can be overwhelming.
 
NOTE:  Rose geranium is its own essential oil.  It is NOT made by mixing a combination of rose + geranium oils.

Do a tick check

If ticks are a problem in your area, tick check every time you spend time doing outdoor activities around grass, shrubs, bushes, and forested areas.
 
Tick embedded in scalpThe quicker you remove the tick, the lower your risk of being bitten.  Ticks often spend hours crawling around their host to find the "best" spot, so brushing them off before they attach is your best bet.  Although they can chomp down on any spot, the following areas are favorites:
 
  • Behind the ears
  • Behind the knees
  • Armpits
  • Belly button
  • In hair on your head
  • Groin area (eek!)

For dogs, add in-between the toes, ears, face, and base of tail.  

Because juvenile ticks are very small (poppy seed size), locating them can seem like finding a needle in a haystack!  One of the simplest and best ways to make sure they don't latch on is to take a quick shower, lightly scrubbing ALL areas.  Shake your clothes and gear outside and place clothes in a hot washer to make sure you remove any of these stray critters.
 
Check Your Gear
Not only do ticks hitch a ride on a nice, warm body, they also cling to camping gear, back-packs, shoes, and jackets.  Check these items thoroughly and if you can put them in a hot dryer, then do so.
 

Pets! How to protect your furry friends, too

Scratching huskyDogs and cats are just as susceptible to Lyme disease.  Like children playing outside, pets can bring ticks indoors that hitch a ride and then land on couches, in beds, and just about anywhere in your home.  Always use tick preventative measures on pets and check them often.  
 
Frontline, K9 Advantix, Revolution, and other chemical topicals DO NOT prevent Lyme disease!  They kill ticks AFTER they have bitten and transmitted any bacteria.  The same holds true for Bravecto and Nexgard, the new "oral pesticides" available or dogs.  
 
These agents are classed as pesticides which, when applied, are absorbed into your pet's body to detrimentally affect their entire system.  There is a reason they are toxic for human hands to touch.  These chemicals have no place on a dog or cat's body.
 
In dogs, Lyme disease symptoms are flu-like. They ache everywhere, walk hunched, limp or appear lame, have little to no appetite, and move in slow motion.  Visit your vet immediately if you see these symptoms (preferably a naturopathic vet or traditional vet who integrates natural healthcare) - also check out the prevention and treatment protocols below.  Be aware that if your pet is treated with antibiotics, this may clear the symptoms but does not eliminate the bacteria which then hides in the body.  Relapses can happen whenever a dog is immune compromised or is treated with corticosteroids (which suppress the immune system).  If your dog has taken antibiotics for Lyme disease, they are not a candidate for any steroid drug.(3)
 
Check out the prevention and treatment information below.  Then head over to the pet section of the Body Healer for more information on protecting your furry friends from ticks and other pests with much safer and non-toxic solutions and learn about the studies showing why you should avoid topical and oral pesticides.  As I mentioned above, we use rose geranium essential oil on our pup (one drop on the back of the neck, and one at the base of the tail - simply part the fur and dab a drop at each locations once per day:
 

See an embedded tick? Remove it immediately!

Tick fear!The sooner you remove the tick the better.  The longer the tick stays attached, the greater the chance for infection.  It typically takes 24 hours or longer for an infected deer tick to pass on the Lyme disease bacteria from the time in attaches to its host.  Unfortunately, other tick-borne diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can be transmitted within hours which is why timing is very important. 
 
If you see one of these critters buried in your skin, resist the urge to run screaming around the house or neighborhood (yes, this is exactly what I did!).  Instead, take a deep breath and follow the steps further down this page to easily and successfully remove the sucker.

Store any removed ticks for identification

Not all ticks are equal when it comes to which diseases they may or may not carry.  By identifying the tick, you can rule out some diseases.  After you have removed the tick, either store it in a sealed ziploc bag or tape it to a piece of white paper so that it can be clearly identified.  Record the following information:
  1. Date tick was removed.
  2. Location on your body where it was found.
  3. Location where you believe the tick came from.  
If you begin to have any symptoms, have the tick tested immediately (see next slider)

Bitten by a tick? Where to get it tested

Ticks can be tested by your local healthcare provider or at various locations via mail for a small fee.  Ticks can be either dead or alive for testing.  Mail order tick testing companies include:
 
IGeneX, Inc. (CA), $68
Tickreport.com (MA), $50
Tick Encounter Resource Center (RI) email picture for free to ID tick / mail for testing
Tickcheck, LLC. (PA), $50
Imugen, Inc. (MA), $75

As far as prevention goes, avoid the vaccine.  There is a great deal of controversy about its effectiveness and the potential side effects.  For this reason, many doctors and veterinary clinics do not offer or recommend the vaccine.

How to Remove a Tick

One of the simplest ways to remove a tick is to use a simple and inexpensive device called a Tick Twister (available here from Amazon).  This handy little "tool" is very easy to use and can be purchased online or from your local pharmacy or pet store.  If you don't have one, then a pair of tweezers can be used instead.

Using a Tick Twister
 
Using a Pair of Tweezers
Slide the "V" opening of the tick twister around the tick and slowly rotate until the tick has been removed from skin.   Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and gently twist while pulling the tick out.  Be very careful you don't pull out the body and leave the head embedded. 
removetick 1   removetick 2

After the tick has been removed, swab the area with soap and water or hydrogen peroxide.  Place the tick in a ziplock bag so that it can be later identified.

Give Yourself A "Natural Vaccine"

If you live in an area where ticks are prevalent, an excellent preventative measure is to take a homeopathic nosode treatment that triggers your body to build immunity against Lyme disease.  Lyme disease prevention nosodes have been used to successfully prevent Lyme disease in areas such the North East US which experiences the highest occurrences.  Not only is this treatment inexpensive, is so safe it can also be given to both children and pets.  Homeopathy as proven itself clinically effective in preventing and treating illnesses like Lyme disease in ALL its clinical stages.(4)  High success rates using nosodes for Lyme disease have been reported by many reviewers of these products on Amazon, as well as well-respected doctors and veterinarians.(5) (6) (7) (8)

Nosodes and homeopathic remedies may be gentle, but they are powerful healers.  Homeopathy has been integrated into the national healthcare system of many countries, including France, Germany, the UK, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, and Mexico.  Sadly, in the US natural solutions are largely ignored due to a healthcare industry heavily controlled by the pharmaceutical industry and high profit margins of modern medicine.  Despite this, many surgeons (especially plastic surgeons) do routinely recommend a homeopathic remedy called Arnica Montana to lessen bruising and bleeding.

A nosode is a preparation used by many naturopathic physicians and veterinarians, as well as homeopathic doctors, to treat disease.  It is created using a highly diluted preparation of the disease itself, diluted to the point that there is no danger of contracting any illness.  There is no potential to become infected as the dilution process deactivates all viable organisms.  Think of it as a form of very gentle vaccine that has no dangers or side effects and is safe for adults, children, and pets.  Both naturopathic physicians and vets consider it far more successful than the Lyme vaccine, which is considered weak at best.

When it comes to tick-borne diseases there are two types of treatments that are designed to help stimulate an immunity against tick-borne diseases: 

  1. Tick pathogen nosodeLyme Disease Nosode
    Protects against Lyme disease only.  Resellers include:
    > Lyme Nosode available from Pure Formulas
    > Lyme Nosode available from Amazon

  2. Tick Disease Nosode
    Protects against a combination of different tick-borne diseases which include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia, anaplasmosis, and others.  Resellers, including:
    Tick Pathogen Nosode available from Pure Formulas
    Tick Pathogen Nosode available from Amazon

Just like tinctures and extracts, nosode preparations are very easy to take.  They come in small, dark bottles that contain a dropper for easy administration.  The following schedule is for adults.  For children 4-12 and small dogs, half the dose.  For infants, consult a practitioner. 

STEP 1:  1 dropperful daily for a week
STEP 2:  1 dropperful each  week for a month
STEP 3:  1 dropperful every 6 months

Apply drops under tongue 30 mins before or after any food or drink (including water).

"Homeopathy has been integrated into the national healthcare systems of numerous countries, including France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, and Mexico."

World Health Organization

Nosodes for tick-borne diseases are used by many natural healthcare practitioners with great success (as well as medical doctors who offer a more holistic approach to wellness in recognition of the significant failure rate of traditional medicine to effectively treat Lyme disease).

Ready to learn more about Homeopathy?
Homeopathy:  What it is & how it works...

Treating Lyme Disease Naturally

Ledum palustre 1M

If Lyme disease is caught in the acute stage (often it isn't), the common treatment is a course of antibiotics (usually doxycycline or amoxicillin) which are effective for some people, yet ineffective for others.  Compounding the situation, antibiotic resistance can make this a useless option (antibiotic resistance is so serious that it causes the death of hundreds of thousands each year).  For chronic conditions, antibiotics rarely do any good and when given long-term, create more harm than good.

The natural treatment for Lyme disease involves taking a homeopathic treatment called Ledum Palustre 3 times each day for 3 days.  Ledum Palustre is also known as Wild Rosemary.  Here is the protocol for the two most commonly found strengths:

  • Ledum Palustre 1 M:  1 pellet 3x per day for 3 days (from Amazon - note the high rating)
  • Ledum Palustre 30C:  3-5 pellets 3x per day for 3 days (from Amazon)

As with the prevention nosode, apply drops under tongue 30 mins before or after any food or drink (including water).

If you have been bitten by a tick and you are concerned you may have Lyme disease, FIRST follow the treatment protocol for 3 days, THEN follow the prevention protocol above.  

Check Out The Body Healer Protocol!

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