Lyme’s Disease is caused by a spirochete bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted to humans from a natural reservoir among rodents and other animals by ticks that feed on both sets of hosts.
In Southern California Lyme-positive ticks were confirmed in the National Park Service’s Paramount Ranch, Malibu Creek, Tapia, Topanga, Will Rogers, upper Malibu in the city’s Charmlee Park, and above LA’s Westside in Sullivan Canyon, which has a Creekside trail that is a magnet for hikers and mountain bikers.
Between 1 and 2 percent of western black-legged ticks are estimated to carry the debilitating bacterial infection.
The bugs lurk in the grass along trails and latch onto unwitting travelers. Young ticks, or nymphs, embed their heads into their victims’ flesh and feed. Most people don’t immediately notice the bite, and a tick can infect a victim if it remains embedded for several hours.
Acute Lymes infections lasts form 1 -4 weeks. It is characterized by the classic Bulls-eye rash, erythema chronicum migrans (ECM). It occurs in 60-90% of cases. Because the rash is not associated with pain, itching, or other discomfort, it is easily missed, leading to an incorrect diagnosis.
Other acute infections symptoms are flu-like, such as chills, fever, recurrent headaches, fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain, and loss of appetite.
In the acute stage, antibiotic therapy is indicated with good results. However, since a majority of cases are misdiagnosed, mostly as the flu, antibiotics are not prescribed leading to a chronic infection state.
Symptoms of the chronic infection include:
Cardio-pulmonary – chest pain, rib soreness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, extra or premature heart beats, heart murmur, or valve prolapse.
Gastrointestinal – nausea, vomiting, difficulty eating, constipation, diarrhea, gastritis, abdominal cramping, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Genitourinary – bladder dysfunction, cystitis
Musculoskeletal – joint/muscle pain in feet, swelling in toes, balls of feet, ankle pain, burning in feet, shin splints, joint swelling, stiffness, and cramps
Neurological – twitching of face, eyelids, or other muscles, headache, tingling, numbness, burning or stabbing sensations, facial paralysis, dizziness, poor balance, motion sickness, light-headedness, difficulty walking, tremor, confusion, difficulty with thinking or reading, forgetfulness, poor short term memory, disorientation, difficulty with speech, double or blurry vision, eye pain, floaters, hypersensitivity to light or sound, ringing in ears, ear pain, deafness, seizure activity
Neuropsychiatric – mood swings, violent outbursts, irritability, depression, disturbed sleep, personality changes, obsessive-compulsive disorder, paranoia, panic attacks, hallucinations
Reproductive – testicular/pelvic pain, menstrual irregularity, lactation issues, sexual dysfunction and loss of libido
Other – fever, sweats, chills, weight change, fatigue, hair loss, swollen glands, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, swelling around the eyes
This is very long list of possibilities. Please do not self-diagnose. Seek help from a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment.
Diagnostic test begins with the ELISA test. If it is positive or unsure, then a Western blot test is run to confirm. A newer genetic test is now available to detect genetic material (DNA) of the Lyme disease spirochete (Borrelia). However it is susceptible to false positive results.
Common misdiagnoses for Lymes disease include MS, Alzheimer’s, Rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s, Fibromyalgia, ALS, Chronic fatigue, and other autoimmune disorders. Because of this mimicry many Lyme patients go undiagnosed.
Homemade Natural Repellent Spray
If you spend time in the Santa Monica Mountains or other areas known to have Lyme-positive ticks, use a repellent. Here is a recipe for an effective non-toxic spray.
In a spray bottle, mix 2 mugs of distilled white vinegar and 1 mug of water. To make a scented solution (to eliminate the vinegar odor) add 20 drops of any essential oil. Eucalyptus oil works as a tick repellent, while peppermint and citrus oils give off a strong crisp scent that also repel ticks and mosquitoes. Other tick repelling essential oils to use are:
- 10 drops rosemary essential oil
- 7 drops cinnamon essential oil
- 3 drops cedar wood essential oil
- 3 drops of rose geranium oil.
- 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil
After mixing the solution, spray onto clothing, skin and hair before going outdoors. Reapply every four hours to keep ticks at bay and examine your skin and hair when back inside to make sure no ticks are on the body.
If you suspect that you may have Lyme’s disease, call today and schedule an appointment. 818-788-8242