Lyme Disease: The Top Facts on Lyme Disease Symptoms, Myths, and Treatment Options. Learn How AHCC Can Help.
Every season is tick and Lyme disease season. And yes, this means that after a winter walk, hike, ski, or snowshoe, you need to check yourself for ticks.
During the fluctuating winter temperatures, as soon as the temperatures rise above freezing, ticks become active. However, most of us associate ticks and Lyme disease risk with hot summer months and our exposed bare skin. This misunderstanding means that many people miss the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease on themselves and their pets.
Admittedly, even for us at AHCC Research, we write and talk about Lyme disease more frequently in the spring and summer months. But the recent news about Justin Bieber’s Lyme disease diagnosis, got a lot of us talking about this inflammatory infection and how we can stay safe from it.
To help remind you of the facts on Lyme disease and ticks, we’ve put together this detailed article on Lyme disease. The more awareness about Lyme disease – the better. Please share this article on your social networks and with your colleagues.
What Is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is an inflammatory infection that is transmitted to people and animals through tick bites. Lyme disease is the most common vector-born disease in the United States.
When a tick infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi bites, there is a risk of developing Lyme disease. Ticks become infected with Lyme disease-causing bacteria when they bite an infected mouse, deer, bird, or other small rodent. This bacterium is then passed on to humans and animals with a simple tick bite.
Ticks are active all year-round and are more prevalent in the warm spring and summer months.
The three stages of Lyme disease are:
Stage 1 of Lyme disease: This is the early sign of an infection and occurs within the first few days of an infected tick bite. The early symptoms of Lyme disease include flu-like sensations (headache, fever, fatigue, sore throat, dry cough, muscle aches) and/or a rash at the site of the bite. The rash can start within a few days (or weeks) after the bite and typically grows as the days pass.
Stage 2 of Lyme disease: In the first few days or weeks after the tick bite, the infection spreads in the body. The bacterium travels through the blood stream infecting a range of areas including the joints, nervous system, and potentially organs. The symptoms during the second stage of Lyme disease include: blurry vision, seizures, paralysis, eye pain, numbness, tremors, encephalitis, and Bell’s Palsy. A range of treatments are available and it’s imperative to take action, or Lyme disease will progress to Chronic Lyme disease.
- Stage 3 of Lyme disease: Chronic Lyme disease can occur in the days or weeks after the infection or if Lyme disease is not properly treated, it can happen months or years after the initial tick bite. At this stage of the disease, it’s very challenging to effectively treat patients. Symptoms of stage three Lyme disease include: worsening neurological symptoms, encephalopathy, and Chronic Lyme Arthritis. Chronic Lyme disease can impact multiple body systems, including hormone production.
Top 5 Myths About Lyme Disease
According to the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, these are the top five myths about Lyme disease:
Myth: Lyme-infected ticks only live in rural areas of Canada (and the United States).
Truth: Lyme disease is present in most of Canada (and the United States). Regardless of where you live, migratory birds, robins, and song sparrows that bring this disease into your community.
Myth: Chronic Lyme disease will go away on its own over time.
Truth: Research tells us that treatment is necessary to remove and recover from Lyme disease. There is no evidence to suggest that Lyme disease leaves the body without treatment.
Myth: You can’t contract Lyme disease in the winter.
Truth: Deer ticks are responsible for transmitting Lyme disease and can leave for up to two years, surviving very cold temperatures. Lyme disease infection rates drop in the winter because people are less active outdoors.
Myth: Everyone infected with Lyme disease develops a bull’s eye rash.
Truth: Only 30% of infected people report experiencing a rash and only 9% develop a bull’s eye rash.
Myth: People don’t recover from Lyme disease, so there is no reason to treat it.
Truth: This is simply not true. When treated, most people can return to full active lives. Lyme disease is one of the most treatable chronic illnesses.
What Are The Symptoms of Lyme Disease?
After being outdoors, for example mowing the lawn, choosing a Christmas tree, or going for a snowshoe or hike, check yourself for ticks. If you notice a tick bite, remove the tick and immediately take it to your doctor’s office.
Your doctor can test the tick for Borrelia burgdorferi. It’s important that you immediately start monitoring yourself for signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.
The signs and symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes in absence of a rash. A rash may occur at the site of the tick bite.
- In the days and months after a tick bite, be aware of these Lyme disease symptoms: severe headaches and neck stiffness, rashes on other areas of the body, fascial palsy, arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling in the knees and other large joints, heart palpitations, shooting pain, numbness, sore muscles.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Lyme Disease resource for more information about Lyme disease symptoms.
How is Lyme Disease Treated?
Lyme disease treatment depends on the stage of the illness at the time of diagnosis:
Antibiotics. Researchers and doctors have learned that antibiotics are most effective in the early stage of Lyme disease. Typically, your doctor prescribes oral antibiotics for a two to three-week period. For some people, a single course of antibiotics is insufficient, and, in these cases, a second round of antibiotics may be prescribed.
Intravenous Medication. Lyme disease can remain dormant for weeks, months, or even years, so when it is finally identified, the disease is beyond oral antibiotic treatment. Intravenous treatment is used when Lyme disease has reached stage two. Because there can be multiple infections and impacted organs, this intravenous treatment can include antibiotics and other supportive therapies. Supportive therapies can include physical therapy, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory medication, and stomach acid control.
Intramuscular Treatment. This treatment approach involves injecting patients intramuscularly with antibiotics. This treatment provides a slow and sustained release of antibiotics over a period of time and can help people who do not respond to oral antibiotics.
Pulse and Combination Therapy. This is a relatively new approach to Lyme disease treatment that has shown to be effective in some patients. This treatment approach uses a controlled combination of antibiotic treatments that coincide with Lyme disease flares.
- AHCC Supplementation. For those who have reached chronic stages of Lyme disease, addressing inflammation is critical to manage this disease. Giving the immune system an assist in the form of more active immune cells can help reduce the body’s inflammation and could also assist the body in eliminating the disease in the early stages.
Chronic Lyme disease can be challenging to treat. For people with Chronic Lyme disease, an individualized treatment plan is required to address any other underlying health issues and previous Lyme disease treatment approaches.
What Does the Latest Research Say About AHCC and Lyme Disease?
Recent research into AHCC and Lyme disease is very promising.
A study conducted at The Salerno Center for Complementary Medicine in New York, NY found that after just 8 weeks of using AHC supplementation, patients with Lyme disease experienced a significant reduction in inflammation, improvement in flu-like symptoms and less joint and muscle manifestations.
“Inflammation is what makes Lyme Disease so debilitating” says Dr. John Salerno, the study’s Principal Investigator and head of Salerno Center for Complementary Medicine. “The fact that AHCC could reduce inflammation and improve Lyme symptoms is a truly exciting finding.”
“While we only completed a small pilot study, there are more than 20 human clinical studies on other immune-related indications of AHCC and it has been shown to be a very safe product” says Dr. Salerno. “Therefore, AHCC should be considered by anyone who has contracted a virus or is suffering from chronic Lyme disease.” (Study Shows AHCC® Mycelial Mushroom Extract Ameliorates Symptoms of Lyme Disease)