What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

by Laurel Scott

Lyme diseaseis an illness caused by bacteria called Borellia that is transmitted to humans by tick bites. It is a common illness in Europe and the United States.

It is named after the town of Lyme, in Connecticut, USA, where the illness was first recognised.

It has now been shown conclusively that it is possible to pick up Lyme disease in Australia.

Lyme disease can affect multiple body systems and produce a range of symptoms. Not all patients with Lyme disease will have all symptoms, and many of the symptoms are not specific to Lyme disease, but can occur with other diseases as well. The incubation period from infection to the onset of symptoms is usually one to two weeks, but can be much shorter (days) or much longer (months to years).

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

  • An expanding circular rash called erythema (may look like a red bulls-eye at the site of the tick bite)
  • Sore throats, clearing throat a lot, phlegm, hoarseness, runny nose
  • Pain in eyes, or swelling around eyes
  • Pain in ears, oversensitivity to sounds
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bone pain, joint pain or swelling, carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Stiffness of joints, back, neck, tennis elbow
  • Chest pain or rib soreness
  • Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, weakness, peripheral neuropathy or partial paralysis
  • Too much sleep or insomnia
  • Memory loss (short or long term)
  • Difficulty with concentration or reading
  • Speech difficulty (slurred or slow)
  • Unexplained breast pain, discharge
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Continual infections (sinus, kidney, eye, etc.)
  • Allergies/Chemical sensitivities

The main treatment for Lyme is antibiotics. These are usually given orally, but sometimes intravenous antibiotics are used.

The duration of antibiotic of treatment varies according to the individual case.  Someone with recent onset of Lyme disease, within a few weeks of the tick bite, will probably need antibiotics for 6-8 weeks.  On the other hand, a patient who has been suffering from this disease for 10 or 20 years, and has had no prior treatment, may require antibiotics for 2 or 3 years.

Herbal medicines can also play a useful role in the treatment of Lyme, and can enhance the effectiveness of antibiotics.

Most Lyme disease doctor considers however that it cannot be cured by herbal medicines alone, and that antibiotic must always be used.

A variety of nutritional supplements are also routinely recommended for patients.

There is strong evidence that Lyme can be passed on from mother to child in utero, and also by sexual contact.

Many patients with this disease also have what is commonly known as “co-infections”.  These are other infections such as which can be transmitted by the tick bite, such as Babesia, Bartonella, Ricksettia and Ehrlichia, and which also require antibiotic treatment.