Lyme Time—Summer In New England
What’s especially worrisome is that ticks’ favorite meal appears to be kids. Children between ages 5 to 14 are the most common sufferers of Lyme disease. Lyme disease can present with a wide array of symptoms such as joint pain and fatigue, as well as neurological, behavioral, and emotional disturbances. Children can be playing in the park, a yard or even in inside your home and still get bitten by a tick. Playing outside in direct sunlight actually boosts immunity so, send those kids out (just check them for tick when they come back inside).
One CDC study of grade school aged children with Lyme disease, found that the average length of their illness was 363 days, and the mean number of school days missed because the child was too ill to attend was 103 days. 78% of the parents stated that their children experienced a fall in grade point average during the time of illness.
Here are some easy-to-follow guidelines for keeping kids safe from ticks this summer and beyond.
Be sure to Prune excess bushes and keep the grass short in the yard.
Using mulch to line your perimeter helps keep the ticks from entering your yard.
Also keep a close eye on your pets. Pets can carry ticks into your house and they can migrate onto your family.
Chickens eat all those ticks, consider tending a flock.
Encourage kids to wear long pants and socks; as the ticks tend to attach to their ankles and legs first.
The essential oils of lemon and eucalyptus are and effective tick repellent for up to 8 hours and safer for repeated use than DEET and picardin chemical tick repellant, according to the CDC (use with caution on children due to the caustic nature of Essential Oils)
Remember ticks are carried on small rodents like mice, squirrels and rabbits. They are also found on migratory birds, which can be found in any city or town.
IN THE EVENING check your kids’ bodies for ticks, and wash bodies and clothes. Ticks move around most during the cooler parts of the day and year, so be sure to do a thorough check!
Ticks mostly live on wood or bushes and tall grass. They’ll attach to the leg and can crawl up to the waist, armpit, earlobe, or scalp.
IF YOU FIND A TICK
Use thin tweezers to catch the tick at the insert site, closest to the skin and gently jiggle the tick until it detaches.
IN GENERAL ticks embedded less than 36 hours DO NOT transmit Lyme Disease.
Holistic Doctors have long recommended the use of the herb astragalus daily if you live in an endemic area; and a one time a high dose astragalus at the time of a tick bite.
At the removal site apply andrographis or neem tincture to the bite area, and then cover the area with a clay pack, for preventing infection.
Never burn or squeeze a tick. The tick carries most of the bacteria in the stomach and by squeezing it you run a risk of injecting the contents into the person.
Some Labs do testing on Ticks to assess if the tick carries an illness.
Typical symptoms of Lyme disease are flu like symptoms, joint pains or swollen joints, sudden change in behavior, sudden development of repetitive movements, lethargy, fatigue, and headaches.
A classic “bulls-eye” shaped rash is present in less than 50% of cases and should not be the reason a child is NOT treated for Lyme disease.
Generally treatment consists of antibiotics that should be administered for AT LEAST 4 weeks. The treatment is usually well tolerated, and immunity and gut microbiome should be repleated after antibiotics.
When Lyme Turns Chronic
Current studies at John’s Hopkins University show that up to 35% of people develop chronic symptoms despite treatment for Lyme. “We do not know what the exact reasons of these chronic symptoms are,” “Scientists have postulated that it could be an autoimmune reaction that is triggered by the infection, chronic inflammation, or continued infection by the bacteria.” (Quoted by JHU scientists. However we know the association is highly correlated with MTHFR and adrenal fatigue..a discussion for another day).
Some issues with Lyme disease include poor testing “The current test misses 89% of Lyme disease cases in the first 8 weeks of infection.” IGenex Lab testing appears to be more accurate with reporting positives than any lab looking at the restricted number of bands stipulated by the CDC’s epidemiological criteria. However other issues in society with toxic overload may set the body up for an autoimmune reaction and chronic Lyme disease.
Understanding Lyme Testing
To reiterate, there are lots of false negatives (when a test is negative but the individual actually has the disease). However a “clinical” positive must meet certain criteria in order to be considered “infected with Lyme”. To review, we assess various antibodies to look for Lyme reaction in the immune system. First to appear during an infection is IgM antibodies which are produced in great quantity. IgM antibodies are large. IgM antibodies, when present in high numbers, represent a new active infection or an existing infection that has become reactivated. Over time, the number of IgM antibodies will decline as the active infection is resolved.
Following IgM antibodies, are IgG antibodies, which are produced once an infection has been going on for a while, and may be present after the infection has been resolved. Generally speaking, if IgG antibodies are present but IgM antibodies are negative, an individual has developed antibodies or re-activated a previous infection but does not have a current active infection.
IgM is a sign of a current infection.
IgG is a sign of a current infection, or of a past exposure to or past infection by the organism.
Lyme Bacteria can hide in the brain and nervous system and by altering its surface proteins, can remain invisible to the immune system for a long period of time.
Once the immune system figures out what it is and starts making antibodies to it, it shifts is surface proteins once again, fooling the body into thinking the infection is over.
Lyme can turn itself into undetectable L-forms which also help it elude the immune system. When the immune system can’t see it, the immune system can’t antibodies and fights the bacteria
A seronegative result (false negative) does not mean the person does not have an active or latent Lyme infection. It just means that this particular test was negative.
Lyme Disease is called “the Great masquerader” because it causes a wide range of symptoms being presented by the patient.
The CDC’s criteria for what constitutes a positive result is very conservative, as a result of that underreporting, and underdiagnosing occur, minimizing the catastrophic epidemic of Lyme disease in the United States.
In general, a clinical positive requires at least 2 IgG and or 2 IgM bands (varies based on testing used)IgG
IgMBand Definition18 kDaNot specific for lyme22 kDamay be specific for Lyme or cross-reactive.23-25 kDaspecific for Lyme28 kDaSpecific for Lyme30 kDaSpecific for Lyme; California Strain31 kDaMay appear after vaccination34 kDaMay appear after vaccination ; Specific for Lyme37 kDaSpecific for Lyme39 kDaSpecific for Lyme; associated with Joint pain41 kDaOther bacteria, not specific for Lyme45 kDaappears for Ehrlichosis58 kDanot specific for Lyme; check viral infections66 kDaNot specific for Lyme; Consider E.Coli73 kDamay be specific for lyme83 kDaSpecific for Lyme93 kDaan immunodominant protoplasmic cylinder antigen, associated with the flagellum. Specific for Lyme
remember you know your body best. Be vigilant and keep seeking answers until you find them. Knowledge id power and NoBody should suffer with this debilitating disease especially our children.