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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Lyme Disease support group seeks solution

The support group meets every month for those who suffer from Lyme disease. Graphic courtesy of Nor-Cal Chico Lyme Support Group
The support group meets every month for those who suffer from Lyme disease. Graphic courtesy of Nor-Cal Chico Lyme Support Group

With no cure, Lyme disease sufferers will go to extremes to try and cure themselves.

The Nor-Cal Chico Lyme Support Group are a group of individuals who all have different experiences dealing with this disease. People often resort to very expensive or very different treatments in an attempt to get rid of the disease.

Lyme disease is an infection that is transmitted from the bites of ticks. Symptoms of the disease include fevers, headaches, fatigue and skin rashes. Since many tick bites go unnoticed, many people don’t even know that they have the disease.

There is no immediate cure to Lyme disease. It can be treated with antibiotics if diagnosed early, but if the disease remains untreated, it can lead to serious problems in the joints, heart and nervous system.

Many longtime sufferers of Lyme disease use antibiotics and probiotics to treat the disease, but this often provides only temporary relief and the side effects of taking antibiotics are very severe and cause discomfort.

One specific side effect of antibiotics is herxing. Herxing occurs when dead or dying bacteria release large amounts of toxins into blood and tissues at an alarming rate. This provokes a sudden and exaggerated inflammatory response.

Some of the symptoms that follow are joint pain, rashes, irritability, dizziness and muscle cramps. The pain that comes from herxing causes many to stop antibiotic treatment and seek other forms of help.

“In the medical community we are astounded by the highly individual and complex nature of Lyme disease,” said Mitchell L. Hoggard, a pharmacist with a specialty in Lyme disease. “Some are easily treated with antibiotics, but others aren’t as fortunate.”

One group member of the Nor-Cal Chico Lyme Support Group spoke of an experience at the Sierra Integrative Center. She paid $20,000 for a week-long treatment to get rid of Lyme disease.

She went through a “Shake ‘N’ Bake” procedure in which she had her temperature raised to high levels. Hypothetically, this kills all the Lyme bacteria in a patient’s body by simply burning it away.

The member had temporary relief, but once her treatment ended the symptoms returned and she had to resort back to antibiotics.

Over 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease every year. Only 50 percent of people with Lyme disease are properly diagnosed.

It is very popular on the northeast coast of the United States, but there is an endemic in areas west of the Sierra Nevada.

“Some endemic areas on the West Coast are the Mendocino and the north coast areas of California,” Hoggard said. “I receive about 30-35 cases every year and most of them are from these areas.”

Since many people do not know they have been bitten by a tick and many do not know they may be infected with Lyme disease, this leads to misdiagnosis and improper treatment.

For this reason, some members of the support group are not fond of hospitals or the Center for Disease Control.

Some methods of preventing Lyme disease include limiting exposure to ticks in residential areas and getting a Lyme disease vaccine. The usage of antimicrobial agents is not recommended, even in highly endemic areas.

The Nor-Cal Chico Lyme Support Group meets monthly, on every third Monday and engages with the community with the goal of spreading awareness of the disease.

They will be holding a fundraiser at the 1078 Gallery on May 21. Their next meeting is on April 19 at the Congregation Beth Israel.

Roberto Fonseca can be reached at [email protected] or @rjfonseca13 on Twitter.

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    Terri Magneson // Jul 27, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Hi my name is Terri, I wondering if anyone can give me some suggestions? My husband has been in treatment since Nov. 2016. He is very discouraged and stressed that he isn’t getting better by now. anything will help.