May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. So today I’d like to focus on some things that you may or may not know about Lyme Disease.
First what is Lyme Disease? How do you get it? Lyme Disease is an illness caused by bacterium Borrelia Burgdorferi which is carried by black-legged ticks and is transmitted through tick bites.
Acute Lyme Disease occurs days to weeks after a tick bite. The bacteria hasn’t spread from the site of infection in the skin to other areas yet. At this stage you may have, fever, chills, muscle aches and redness or rash at the site of the bite.
Early Disseminated Lyme Disease occurs day to months after infected and if untreated starts to spread to other parts of the body and produces new symptoms. Symptoms at this stage include headache, neck stiffness, arthritis type pain in the large joints such as the knees or shoulders, heart palpitations or shortness of breath called Lyme Carditis, facial paralysis one or both sides of the face also called bells palsy.
Late Disseminated Lyme Disease occurs months to years after an initial tick bite, by this time the bacteria have spread to the rest of the body. At this stage many people experience joint pain, shooting pain, numbness in the extremities and short-term memory loss and dizziness. They may also have difficulty sleeping, brain fog, and difficulty following conversation and processing information. Below is a picture of the different stages of growth for the black-legged tick also known as a deer tick. As you can see ticks are very small and can be easily missed so make sure to check your clothes, children and pets very carefully.
Protect yourself and your loved ones when going into wooded areas, use insect repellant with at least 20% DEET, wear clothes that are light in color and that cover as much of your skin as possible, shower when returning. Mow your lawn frequently and stack any firewood in a dry, sunny place to discourage rodents that may be carrying ticks.
If you see a tick on your skin you should remove it immediately. Use tweezers, pull slowly and steadily. Once removed apply an antiseptic to the area. It’s unlikely that you will get Lyme Disease if the tick has been attached less than 36 to 48 hours.
Ticks are everywhere, not just in heavily wooded areas. They can be found in suburban and urban areas as well as cities. Ticks can be active year-round as long as the temperature is above 34 degrees Fahrenheit their peak time however, is between April and September.
Lyme Disease can be treated with anti-biotics and IV medication. Acupuncture can also help with the chronic symptoms brought on by Lyme Disease. Our acupuncturist Katherine LaGassie has a particular interest in helping people with chronic health conditions such chronic and acute pain, Lyme Disease and co-infections.
If you or someone you love suffers from Lyme disease Dr. Bill Rawls’ website is full of information. He has spent many years studying the disease after his medical career was derailed when he started to suffer from debilitating symptoms of Lyme disease. He chronicles his journey back to health and wellness, which includes herbal therapy, medications, dietary changes and exercise.
Check out his website at https://rawlsmd.com
Foods to avoid if you have Lyme Disease and are experiencing pain due to inflammation are refined carbohydrates like white bread, fried foods, sugary beverages, red meat and processed meats and unhealthy fats such as margarine. These foods can cause inflammation and even worsen your symptoms.
Foods that have anti-inflammatory properties such as tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, almonds, walnuts, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines and fruits like strawberries, blueberries, cherries and oranges are high in antioxidants and polyphenols which is a protective compound found in plants. Coffee also contains polyphenols as well as, other anti-inflammatory properties. So, all you coffee lovers out there REJOICE! You can still have coffee!
The Mediterranean diet is considered an anti-inflammatory diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, fish and healthy oils. There’s so much information on this diet on the web. This website https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mediterranean-diet-meal-plan has a lot of information about the Mediterranean diet, including a beginners guide and sample meal plan. So, if you are suffering from inflammation due to Lyme Disease or just want to eat healthier and feel better, this website https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation also has a lot of helpful information.
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice, from 1 large lemon
- 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 English Cucumber, halved and sliced
- 15 oz chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 4 oz feta cheese, diced
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl: 3 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 pressed garlic clove, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper and whisk to combine (or shake them together in a small mason jar).
- Combine remaining chickpea salad ingredients in a salad bowl, add dressing to taste (we used all of it) and toss to coat.
You can find this and other recipes here… https://natashaskitchen.com/chickpea-salad-recipe/
Easy Overnight Oats
For Each Serving of Overnight Oats:
- 1/2 cup rolled oats, old fashioned oats
- 5 oz almond milk, (just under 2/3 cup) or your milk of choice
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, fat free or whole yogurt*
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
Topping Combinations Options:
- Blueberry Lemon: 1/4 cup blueberries + lemon zest
- Strawberry Chocolate: 1/3 cup strawberries + mini chocolate chips
- Raspberry peach: 1/3 cup peaches or nectarine + raspberries
- Banana nut: 1/2 banana + chopped pecans
- In a mason jar, add all of your ingredients: rolled oats, almond milk, yogurt, maple syrup, and chia seeds. Stir until well combined then cover and refrigerate overnight.
- To serve, add your favorite toppings and enjoy it out of the jar, or transfer to a bowl and sprinkle on your favorite fruit or nut toppings
*If using a Sweetened, flavored yogurt, you can omit the maple syrup or add it to taste since the yogurt will add sweetness to the mixture.
This recipe can be found here https://natashaskitchen.com/easy-overnight-oats-recipe/
These are just a couple of simple, quick and tasty recipes that we found. Both are great for summer. The Chick Pea salad is perfect to bring to your next summer get together and the oats are prepared before bed so you can have a less hectic morning. Just grab and go! What could be better?
What could be better is not getting Lyme Disease in the first place, so please be careful, check yourself, your loved ones and your pets. Remember to cover as much of yourself as possible when in high-risk areas and use bug spray containing DEET. If you’ve been bitten by a tick and you don’t know what to do, call your doctor, or your local quick care or emergency room.
Be safe and well this summer!