HEALTH UPDATE ON THE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT OF LYME DISEASE
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the Borreliaburgdorferi bacteria that is transmitted to humans by a bite from an infected black-legged or deer tick.
The tick needs to be present on the human skin for at least 36 hours to transmit the infection.
Lyme disease was first recognised in 1975, in the town of Old Lyme in Connecticut, US and is more frequent among people who live or spend time in wooded areas.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
Lyme disease is commonly divided into three stages and the symptoms include:
- Flat, circular rash that looks like a red oval on the body
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain and swelling
- Swollen lymph nodes
The common symptoms of Lyme disease also include sleep disturbances and difficulty concentrating.
Treatment of Lyme disease
Lyme disease must be treated with antibiotics. An oral antibiotics drugs for two to four weeks can help kill the infection.
However, a collaborative study conducted by Johns Hopkins University, Harvard Medical School and International Alzheimer Research Centre found that about 10–20% of patients continue suffering from chronic symptoms. This is described as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.
The same study highlights that while the reason for it is still debated, it could be that all the bacteria are not killed by the current Lyme antibiotics and remain active in the system and essential oils that have antimicrobial activities could help in reducing symptoms.
However, the study highlighted that only cinnamon bark, clove bud, and oregano essential oils killed the bacteria without any regrowth and that there is no study on humans to decipher the same.