Ticks can carry multiple infections at once. This means they can also infect you with more than one disease when they bite and embed in your body.
The Borrelia bacteria cause Lyme. This bacterium does not cause other infections. It is its own separate infection that generates its own negative symptoms, such as Lyme disease. Along with Lyme, other unique conditions from the tick enter your system, creating similar or additional negative symptoms, making it a co-infection.
All co-infections can make Lyme disease symptoms worse, more painful, and chronic.
The most common are listed below.
Bartonella can be carried by ticks and lives in the lining of blood vessels. Cats can also have it. Meaning, humans can contract it two ways, by an infected tick or an infected cat. It causes cat-scratch disease.
Early symptoms mimic a lot of other problems, and misdiagnosis can occur. Symptoms like fever, feeling tired, headaches, blurred vision, balance issues, and memory loss match those of Lyme disease.
Babesia is compared to, and misdiagnosed as, malaria and is the most common co-infection with Lyme disease. It’s a parasite that infects red blood cells. It is called a piroplasm, one of twenty piroplasms that can be transferred from tick to human.
Babesia can affect the nervous system and the brain. Other symptoms can be related to mental health disorders like depression and anxiety, especially fear, mood swings, sweating, chills, shortness of breath, and digestive issues.
Rickettsia is rare in the United States and refers to the spotted fever group and the typhus group. Rickettsia enters a human through the skin and travels and spreads through the bloodstream.
Symptoms of rickettsia include nausea, vomiting, fever, arthritis, fatigue, and neurological dysfunction.
Ehrlichiosis is not just one bacterium; it is a group that describes several different bacterial diseases. An example of one of the diseases in this cluster is called anaplasmosis.
Fever, feeling tired often, aches in the muscles. People may have low white blood cell and platelet counts, anemia, high liver enzymes, and possibly respiratory issues in more severe cases.
Some of the rarer kinds include Colorado Tick Fever, mycoplasma, Powassan virus, Q fever, tick paralysis, tick-borne relapsing fever, and tularemia.
These have similar symptoms of fever, aches, pains, fatigue, neurological malfunctions, and more, except This happens when the bacteria-filled tick embeds itself in your body. It secretes a toxin that causes paralysis over a long period.
Getting the Right Diagnosis
Knowing how to diagnose and treat Lyme disease properly is one thing. Knowing how to detect, diagnose and treat Lyme’s co-infections is another, more important thing. It’s important because your symptoms can linger if you don’t treat both infections.
Lyme-literate doctors are educated on co-infections and know which treatments best eliminate the infections. A Lyme literate doctor is a medical doctor specializing in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease in patients in any phase of their Lyme disease, including prevention.
Lyme-literate doctors acquire extra education and training relating to Lyme disease that goes well beyond what a family practitioner gains in the field.
Lyme-literate doctors have access to advanced equipment to provide the latest Lyme disease and co-infections therapies. Examples of alternative treatments include:
- Therapeutic Apheresis is a technique that requires specialized skills to operate the equipment that allows them to extract blood and separate the components. Once separated, the healthy blood is injected into the patients, and the leftover components are returned to the donor.
- Hyperthermia–Fever is your body’s line of defense against infections. Rather than waiting around for your body to produce a fever on its own, doctors artificially induce a fever in your body to eliminate the bacteria in your bloodstream, helping you go back to living a disease-free lifestyle. With Hyperthermia, your doctor increases your core body temperature a little bit at a time. Research has shown that even a slight increase in temperature, from 1 to 4 degrees, helps wake up the immune system and send it into battle.
- Biofilm Eradication combines anthracycline derivatives and antimicrobials that act on both the inside and outside cells. The Anthracycline activity prevents DNA and RNA synthesis, thus preventing the replication of persistent bacteria and their biofilm colonies.
- Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy is recommended after Lyme disease treatments. Once in your body, stem cells can split and duplicate to replenish other cells in the body.
You don’t have to wait until you have a co-infection to contact a Lyme literate specialist. Call now to learn the steps you can take to prevent Lyme disease and its co-infections.
Prevention Is Key
Prevention is always the best treatment. If the tick can’t bite you, you can’t contract a co-infection of Lyme disease. Your goal is to get creative when it comes to protection.
When outside in a brushy, thicker, more grown-up parts of bushes and trees, cover-up. Wear a hat, so ticks don’t land in your hair. Wear boots, so ticks don’t crawl up your leg. Protect all your body parts.
Another prevention tip is to check your entire body the minute you return from a place that could house diseased ticks. Have a friend or family member check your head, hair, and back.
Use insect repellants. Only spray repellant on your clothing. When you return home and after checking yourself for ticks, take a shower and wash off any chemicals that may have gotten on your skin.
Lyme Co-Infections Conclusion
Finally, continue to educate yourself on Lyme disease, tick-borne illnesses, and co-infections. The more you know, the better you can protect yourself. Establish a relationship with a Lyme-literate doctor for prevention tips for you and the rest of your friends and loved ones.
Lyme disease is on the rise and spreading across the United States due to climate change, deforestation, and because we can travel across the world in just a few hours, taking ticks along. You don’t have to be one of the hundreds of thousands who contract Lyme disease and co-infections each year. You can act now.