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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lyme Should Not Be Taken Lightly

As much as we enjoy living in the country, there have been times in the past few years when we feel like moving just to escape the fear that goes with contracting Lyme Disease every summer season. Pennsylvania and nearby Northeastern states are considered to be endemic for ticks, especially the deer tick.

Lyme disease was named for the town of Old Lyme, Connecticut, where it was first identified 20 years ago. It is believed that suburban sprawl is part of the reason for the appearance of this disease, which is caused by the tickbourne bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. As more and more housing is being built near wildlife areas, people and deer are brought into closer contact. Since natural predators of deer are rare in developed areas, the deer populations have increased.

Some years are worse than others depending on the kind of winter we've had. A wet snowy winter gives the ticks the moisture they need to survive. The life cycle also factors in to the surge in their population. A mature tick can lay 2,000 eggs before it dies. By fall, the tiny larvae are ready for their first meal, which is the blood of a host. The most likely target are rodents. The ticks then hibernate and emerge in the spring as nymphs, ready for a second meal. Over the spring and summer months, mice, cats, dogs and humans are their most likely prey. They attach for three to five days. By the end of the summer they reach their adult size and attach to usually deer or humans for their third meal.

Larvae, nymphs and adults tend to be most prevalent in moist areas. Short grass and areas hit by direct sunlight hinder their survival. Walks in the woods or hiking through unmowed fields are activities that do put a person at risk, but rather than living in fear of the "what could happens" just take necessary precautions. Wear light-colored clothes, tuck your pant legs under your socks, spray your legs, arms and hair with a repellent, and upon returning home, check yourself for ticks, shower, wash your clothes and use the heat of the dryer rather than the wash line.

A great tip to remember:
When you come in from outside or even periodically while on a hike or gardening, take a lint roller and go over your clothing to pick up any ticks. Roll it over your dog or cat to pick up any ticks. Being deer ticks are so small and blend in so well with darker clothing and fur, this tip is genius.

Should you find a tick already attached to you or your pet, rather than just pulling it off, apply a drop of an essential oil such as peppermint, tea tree, geranium or thyme. Deer ticks have a nasty grip and it is easy to leave the head behind still embedded in your skin and not realize it since they are so tiny. Repelled by these oils the idea is that they will retract on their own. Then you can kill them by crushing with a small stone or burning with a lighter.

These parasites can inject infectious agents through its saliva before it would detach on its own, but if you discover and remove it within 24 hours you can have some reassurance that if it was a Lyme carrier you got it off before the bacteria could be transmitted. Keep an eye on the site. If you notice a rash that increases in size and becomes like a bulls-eye, or you start to feel tired and achy, contact your physician.

Natural remedies to booster your immune system include Echinacea and Garlic but when it comes to Lyme disease do not hesitate to take the antibiotics as well. The typical treatment is 21 or 28 days of Doxicycline. This antibiotic is usually successful in knocking out the infection and you'll be amazed how quickly you'll feel better. But don't be tempted to not finish the entire regimen. Doxicyline has its drawbacks such as constipation and sun-sensitivity which is inconvenient but it is very important to finish the 3-4 weeks of antibiotics.

Being there have been such an increase of reported Lyme cases, the fear that eventually Borrelia will develop a resistance to Doxicycline is of concern. Also, people have to educate themselves about the potential severity of what this disease can do to the body. Usually if caught early the Doxycline is successful. If not treated, over time the disease can manifest deep within the nervous system and result in permanent damage such as crippling arthritis.

It is still under debate about the reliability of the Lyme blood test. Doctors feel that if caught in the earliest stages the blood test may be negative because the body has not yet developed the antibodies against the bacteria and if treated the threat is out of your system. It is important that you don't rely only on the blood test results. Just because the test came back negative doesn't mean you don't have the disease brewing. Pay attention to the symptoms and catch it early. Once the antibodies are present in your blood you may always test positive should you have another scare in the future.

Symptoms vary from person to person. When it hit our family six years ago, it was an eye opener. Being a Lupus patient, the headaches, body aches and fevers were contributed to a Lupus flair, and being I didn't develop a bulls-eye or a rash I didn't attribute it to Lyme until I realized my Lupus medications were not working. With an already compromised immune system, letting it go for weeks was not in my favor.

My husband's experience with this disease manifested itself entirely different from my own. He found the tick so Lyme was suspect right from the start but since the symptoms more resembled heat exhaustion (103 fever, dehydration, severe headaches) he was treated with IV fluids and sent home. Only after another two days when he developed a splotchy all over the body rash and symptoms of Bells Palsy, was he put on Doxycyline.

Bell's palsy is a temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face. These muscles are controlled by the facial nerve. Because there's a facial nerve on each side of a person's face, and Bell's palsy usually affects just one nerve, people with Bell's palsy will most likely notice stiffness or weakness on one side of the face.

When the facial nerve is working properly, it carries a host of messages from the brain to the face. These messages may tell an eyelid to close, one side of the mouth to smile or frown, or salivary glands to make spit. Facial nerves also help our bodies make tears and taste favorite foods. But if the nerve swells and is compressed, as happens with Bell's palsy, these messages don't get sent correctly. The result is weakness or temporary paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face.

Bell's palsy is most often connected with a viral infection such as herpes (the virus that causes cold sores), Epstein-Barr (the virus that causes mono), or influenza (the flu). It's also associated with the infectious agent that causes Lyme Disease. This doesn't mean that everyone who has a viral infection or Lyme disease will develop Bell's palsy — most people don't. But in a few people, the immune system's response to a viral infection leads to inflammation of the nerve. Because it's swollen, the nerve gets compressed as it passes through a small hole at the base of the skull, which causes the symptoms of Bell's palsy.

The symptoms of Bell's palsy usually show up about 1 to 2 weeks after a viral infection. The symptoms tend to come on quickly — usually Bell's palsy reaches its worst point within 48 hours. A few hours or days before Bell's palsy develops fully, some people may have a headache or feel pain behind or in front of their ears. A person may notice one side of his or her face droops or feels stiff. Some people may only notice a slight weakness, whereas others may not be able to move that side of their face at all.
Other symptoms of Bell's palsy include:
  • difficulty closing one eye all the way
  • dryness in one eye
  • trouble tasting at the front of the tongue on the affected side
  • changes in the amount of saliva or drooling
  • hearing sounds that seem louder than usual in one ear
This condition is devastating and terrifying to the person suffering from it. It happens so suddenly, seemingly overnight that it is easy to panic. My husband was put on prednisone to reduce the inflammation of the affected nerve and an anti-viral. After a week we are eagerly watching for improvement. The prognosis is that if just the mylene sheath is affected, once the inflammation is reduced, recovery is usually pretty quick. However, all one can do is wait. Nerve repair can take from three months to a year, and in some cases the facial droop can be permanent.

Caring for the eyes is a great concern. When the eye cannot blink properly, the natural lubrication isn't sufficient, putting the cornea at risk of damage from drying out. Gel type drops are needed often throughout the day. The eye needs to be taped shut at night in order to sleep.

We really don't think about the natural functions of our body until we lose them. Blinking, sleeping, eating, talking, noise sensitivity all suddenly become a big deal. Top all that off with the risk of depression, self-consciousness of appearance and the hurdles mount.

The source for information for this post was from

Here is a very informative, personal story of the frustration and struggle to get some answers.

Here is a better understanding of Lyme Disease Tests.

Listed below in an ecofriendly tick repellent body spray utilizing the beliefs of aromatherapy. Ideal for those who would prefer to not utilize repellents containing pesticides.

Ticks can be very stubborn to the typical flea and tick sprays. Rather than dousing yourself and loved ones with pesticides and organophosphates, and then worry about the risks of these toxic ingredients, try an approach these buggers naturally detest and don't build up a resistance. The scent of certain essential oils encourages them to flee. Ticks don't like the smell of the oil therefore try to avoid it.

Rose Geranium, Pelargonium graveolens, is a necessary part of any effective, environmentally friendly tick repellent. This plant is a hardy, evergreen shrub with a lemon-rose scent and pink to purple flowers. The oils are distilled mainly from the leaves. Geranium is composed of terpene alcohols, which explains its many uses as an anti-fungal, an antiseptic as well as as aid in healing wounds and irritated skin conditions.

Emotionally, Rose Geranium has a calming, centering and grounding effect. High-strung people seem to give off signals and are more prone to draw insect pests and the likelihood of getting bitten. The use of this essential oil can help with one's mood and temperament.

Geranium is believed to contain plant hormones, that can help the body's hormone system function properly by being more balanced. The oil is said to help with nervous tension and mood swings. Pregnant woman should check with their physician before using.

This Tick Deterrent Spray is composed of distilled water, alcohol to help with preservation and the essential oil of Rose Geranium. Since everyone's body chemistry is different and the rate of sweating due to activity varies, there is no way to tell how long the effectiveness of each application lasts. Reapply every few hours. As with any new introduction on the skin, test first on a small area of skin to check for irritation.

This spray is ideal for use on your dogs, but don't use on cats. Some essential oils can be dangerous to cats. Cats don't have the enzymes necessary to break down certain components and unless eliminated efficiently their build-up can lead to toxicity.

UPDATED: 9/25/11. Written by Michael Whalen.
D. Andrew Neville, N.D.
Clymer Healing Center
5916 Clymer Road, Quakertown, PA 18951
It is with great appreciation, much satisfaction, and a huge smile on my face that I take the time to write this testimony for Dr. Andrew Neville of the Clymer Healing Center. That is a significant sentence, not only for the number of words, but more that when I went to see Dr. Neville in July 2011, the last thing I could do, or wanted to do was smile. My visit to Dr. Neville was a desperate measure and the direct result of a deer tick bite which led to a severe case of Lyme's Disease. 

My bout with Lyme's had quickly triggered Bell's Palsy in the left side of my face, causing paralysis from above the eye to my chin. My life had suddenly been altered. Critical motions we don't even think about were suddenly beyond my control. Blinking was impossible. I had to tape my left eye shut to sleep and continuously used wetting drops while awake. Antibiotics provided by my primary physician had alleviated the fevers and headaches; concurrently I was told there was no real treatment for the Bell's Palsy except time and that I should consider seeing a neurologist.

When I called the offices of several neurologists explaining my plight, I assured myself that I would get some answers as my case had to be a "really bad one!"; what I received was the reality that every neurologist in my area was booked until late September or October. As a professional in the Pharmaceutical industry, articulate speech is a requirement of my position. The unfolding set of circumstances had significantly impacted my ability to enunciate even small sentences and I was becoming anxiety ridden. 
That was when my wife located the Clymer Healing Center. We called Thursday 07 July 2011 and had an appointment the following Monday. I have received non-traditional healthcare in the past and went to see Dr. Neville with an open mind. When we first met, I suspect Dr. Neville detected my anxiety and immediately said "when" we correct this as opposed to "if" or "let's wait and see". His confidence was reassuring as was the time he took to explain the cause of my paralysis and the nature of the treatments. He concluded our first office visit with a heat/energy application to the inflamed nerve area and prescribed an aggressive amino acid and anti-viral treatment plan.
Within 72 hours of my visit with Dr. Neville I began to experience sensation in the left side of my face. By the end of the week I was able to voluntarily move my upper lip. I maintained a two visit per week regimen and by 29 July 2011, I had only minor symptoms. Now in mid-August, I almost forget what it was like. I have returned to 100% facial function and have no signs of headaches or joint pain. Working within a large professional network, I am aware of numerous instances of Lyme's disease where symptoms linger; even after months of treatment. Dr. Neville's treatment plan corrected my left side Bell's Palsy in what my research suggests was much quicker than typical.
The care I received at Clymer Healing Center was exceptional and produced results that exceeded my expectations. This experience has even further strengthened my confidence in holistic medicine, particularly naturopathic treatments. As records like mine begin to reflect the benefits of these alternative treatments, I anticipate integration with allopathic medicine and a greater recognition for homeopathy.