A bull’s-eye rash is the best-known sign of Lyme disease.
But fatigue, fever, headache, and muscle and joint aches, especially when accompanied by a general feeling of malaise, are other symptoms.
“Whether you remember having been bitten by a tick or not, it’s important to contact a licensed physician immediately if an unusual rash appears on your body,” says James J. Gormley, coauthor of User’s Guide to Treating Lyme Disease.
The incubation period from infection to the start of the telltale rash is usually seven to 14 days but can be as short as three days or as long as 30 days.
“If you or your doctor think you have been bitten by a tick and you have any of the symptoms described, play it safe and get tested right away,” he adds. “The CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommends a sensitive test initially, either the ELISA or indirect fluorescent antibody [IFA] test, followed by the more specific Western blot test.”
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
During later stages of this disease, neurological problems include numbness, pain, weakness, paralysis of facial muscles, visual disturbances, and meningitis-like stiff neck, accompanied by fever and severe headache.
“Chronic malfunction of many peripheral nerves throughout the body can also develop, in addition to rheumatoid arthritis, a stage which is usually marked by cognitive dysfunction, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and personality changes,” says Gormley.
While conventional medical treatment focuses on antibiotic drugs, complementary approaches are also useful.
Steven J. Bock, MD, suggests taking fish oil and high-quality plant oils, including borage seed oil.
Leo Galland, MD, suggests magnesium and vitamin B12 by injection, as well as glutathione (50 mg per day of the reduced form, along with vitamin C).
Other recommendations? Consume raw vegetables and consider other supplements: alpha lipoic acid, apple pectin, beta-sitosterol, chlorella, chromium picolinate, CoQ10, probiotics, and propolis powder.
“Minerals, vitamins, and specialized supplements can be safely and effectively used to support the process of healing, to offset unwanted effects of antibiotic treatment, and to tackle the ongoing, sometimes lingering symptoms and effects of chronic Lyme disease,” Gormley says.