I’ve been receiving more questions about Lyme disease and its co-infections than ever before. I’m hoping that this blog will be a helpful resource for my patients, my listeners and the general public. While I by no means consider myself an expert on these diseases, I have become acutely aware of a distinct lack of readily available correct information concerning tick bites, Lyme disease and its many co-infections.
As a physician practicing holistic alternative medicine it is especially disturbing to me to see how close minded many of my fellow practitioners are when it comes to Lyme. How it is contracted, diagnosed and treated is currently in its infant stages. http://lymediseasechallenge.org/testing/
At this point in time it is vital for health professionals as well as the general public to start paying close attention to all things concerning Lyme and its many coinfections. Therefore, I encourage everyone to keep an open mind and to resist having a “know it all” attitude about a condition that is clearly having dire consequences for a growing sector of the population.
Acute Lyme disease often goes undetected, misdiagnosed or improperly treated. Sadly, this has led to a growing population of people that are now suffering from a chronic form of this disease. Chronic Lyme and its associated co-infections can be disabling and in some cases fatal.
Since our alternative medicine clinic, Cherubino Health Center, is located in the state of Massachusetts, our practitioners are seeing a growing number of patients that are suffering from Lyme disease in one form or another. In a sense, our practitioners are on the front lines when it comes to both acute and chronic Lyme disease.
Lyme Disease Epidemic
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease every year in the United States alone. This number is 6 times the number of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in the same period of time. It is also 1.5 times the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer in one year.
Just this summer, Lyme disease has been declared an epidemic here in Massachusetts, in Barnstable County, which encompasses Cape Cod and adjacent communities. According to a Boston television station report, a growing infected tick population is dramatically raising the risk of contracting Lyme disease.
The Internet and Lyme Disease
While greater numbers of people are becoming aware that Lyme disease exists and that it can be contracted through tick bites, recent research suggests that many of the current beliefs concerning Lyme disease and its co-infections are dangerously incorrect.
In fact, most of the top keyword searches online will lead the user to information concerning tick bites and Lyme disease that has already been proven to be incorrect. Much of this information serves to instill the reader with a false sense of security and therefore leaves them with an increased risk of developing chronic, debilitating or even fatal Lyme disease.
Erring on the Side of Caution When It Comes to Tick Bites and Potential Lyme Disease
My advice to everyone when it comes to this serious disease is to err on the side of caution. There are serious questions concerning some of our long held beliefs concerning transmission, treatment and long-term prognosis. Some of these beliefs, especially concerning Lyme disease co-infections, clearly result from ignorance while others appear to result from dogmatic outdated beliefs and yet others from fear.
The following statements and suggestions have sufficient conflicting scientific data to warrant their consideration.
1. Do not assume that only deer ticks carry Lyme disease. types of ticks
2. Beware of being put at ease by a lack of scientific understanding. We are just beginning to understand Lyme disease and its co-infections. It is a work in progress. As a result, many traditionally minded allopathic practitioners glibly dismiss this sometimes crippling and potentially fatal condition.
3. When bitten by any kind of a tick assume the worst.
4. Have a starter dosage of doxycycline in your medicine cabinet and begin taking it immediately after removing the tick. (prepare ahead by getting and filling this prescription from your doctor)
5. When bitten by a tick remove it appropriately and send it for evaluation. How to remove a tick from the CDC (Check on the Internet for free tick testing in your state)
6. A lack of a bullet rash does not necessarily mean you haven’t been infected with Lyme disease. Best estimates state that only 50% of people infected with active Lyme spirochetes will develop the “classic” bullet rash.
7. Under no circumstances wait to be diagnosed with Lyme disease if you know you’ve been bitten by a tick. Again, start on doxycycline or other appropriate antibiotic, immediately. Waiting can be dangerous!
8. There is no magic amount of time that an infected tick needs to be attached to infect you. The best that scientists can agree on is that the shorter the time it is attached, the better.
9. When it comes to chronic Lyme disease, symptoms can mimic a wide variety of conditions. These can include multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine headaches, visual disturbances, tinnitus, equilibrium loss, GERD, arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, to name but a few.
10. When being treated with a course of antibiotics, don’t stop there! Overcoming Lyme disease and its co-infections requires a healthy immune system. Alternative medicine, by all means, should be explored and utilized, along with any traditional medical treatment you are receiving. Look for chiropractic, osteopathic and naturopathic physicians that are familiar in treating people with Lyme disease. It is important for all of your doctors to have an adequate understanding of both Lyme and its co-infections.
11. Do not under any circumstances be satisfied with a simple Western blot test for the detection of Lyme disease. Estimates have this test at 50% efficiency. (http://lymediseasechallenge.org/testing/)
Treatment For Chronic Lyme Disease
It is becoming clear to me that a holistic integrative medical approach that combines traditional and alternative medicine is needed to effectively treat chronic Lyme disease. Treatments such as herbal protocols, homeopathic remedies, Rife machines, noble gas therapies, to name but a few have all been used successfully in the treatment of people suffering from Lyme disease and co-infections.
The Bottom Line When It Comes To Lyme
When all is said and done, most experts agree that we would all be well served if we had a better understanding of tick bites and what to do if bitten. As far as the ultimate treatment of chronic Lyme disease, much more research is needed. Chronic Lyme disease is far too serious of a condition to be subjected to the dogma of closed minded zealots. Misinformed healthcare providers often insist that their knowledge and current Lyme disease protocols are sufficient to meet the needs of this potential nationwide epidemic.
About the author: Dr. Ron Cherubino is the founder and current clinical director of Cherubino Health Center which is located just outside of Boston Massachusetts. He is a Chiropractic physician (DC) and a Doctor of Alternative Medicine (AMD). He hosts the Ask Dr. Ron Radio Show, Healthy Conversations with Dr. Ron and is the author of numerous articles on chiropractic, holistic and alternative medicine.
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