The CDC believes there are as many as 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease every year. The number appears to be growing, which may be the result of climate change extending the geographical range of the black-legged ticks that carry it or increasing numbers of people seeking recreational opportunities out of doors, or a combination of those things. The disease has been reported in every state of the U.S., but it is most heavily concentrated here in the northeast.
According to WebMD, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection, and you only get it from the bite of the black-legged tick, also called a deer tick. The tick has to be attached to you for 36 to 48 hours in order for you to be infected, so if you find the attached tick during that window and remove it, you are unlikely to get the disease. Unfortunately, deer ticks are quite small and often hard to find on your body. The symptoms of Lyme disease can begin anywhere from three to 30 days after the bite.
What are the symptoms? In about 80% of cases a rash is the first symptom. For those people that get the rash, about a third of them will be able to recognize it: it looks a lot like the logo of Target stores. For the rest, it is simply an area of redness. Otherwise, the early symptoms are a lot like the flu: headache, muscle and joint aches, fever, chills, and swollen lymph nodes. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to fight the bacteria, and that treatment clears up 90% of cases. If you don’t catch it early, however, or if you are one of the unfortunate 10% who don’t shake it with antibiotics, the disease can progress to new rashes, neck stiffness, arthritis, loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face, irregular heartbeat, or inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
According to What Is Lyme Disease?, the cure can briefly be worse than the disease. As the antibiotics kill the bacteria in your system, the dying bacteria release toxins. Your body eliminates the toxins on its own, but sometimes it has trouble keeping up with the load, and this is known as the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, or “herxing.” Herxing is a battery of flu-like symptoms, including headache, malaise, fever, nausea, and hives.
Many Lyme disease sufferers find relief from herxing via infrared sauna. Infrared sauna is known for its superior detoxification, which it achieves by stimulating perspiration. Sweat is not pure water, and although it might taste salty, it is not simply salt water. In addition to water and sodium, sweat contains trace amounts of urea and lactic acid, as well as minerals and metals, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, chromium, nickel, and lead. If you are recovering from Lyme disease, it also includes toxins released by the Borrelia bacteria. The Lyme experts with experience of infrared sauna advise you to start slow: two 10-15 minute sessions per week, since excessive detoxification can cause symptoms on its own.
If you have a history of Lyme disease and herxing and have not been able to find relief any other way, you may want to give infrared sauna a try. Book a session at Peak Recovery & Health Center today.
Image: “Tick Queue” by S. Rae. From left to right, they are adult female, adult male, & female nymph. Creative Commons license.