12. The importance of prevention and adequate early treatment of Lyme disease
In this episode, Sarah hears from Alexis Chesney, a naturopathic physician in Vermont who specializes in Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. She is also author of the book “Preventing Lyme and Other Tick-Borne Diseases”. Alexis became interested in Lyme disease when a previously healthy friend and colleague developed many mysterious symptoms which turned out to be caused by Lyme disease.
“We don’t have an effective vaccine… prevention is the cure at this point”
Dr. Chesney describes some of the treatments she has found effective over the years including antibiotics and herbal medicines. She also explains a Herxheimer reaction, a worsening of symptoms, which is caused by toxins that are released when bacteria die off. She describes how she treats patients who are experiencing a Herxheimer reaction, including herbal medicines, diet and hydration. Dr. Chesney examines some of the other tick-borne diseases that she sees in patients including Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis and Bartonellosis. She notes that Bartonellosis can also be caused by flea bites and cat scratches.
Dr. Chesney shares her experience about some of the herbal treatments available for Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections, touching on the other forms that Lyme bacteria take including the round form and biofilm. She cites a book by Stephen Buhner as well as other resources available for those who are interested in herbal treatments.
“I would love people to be aware of ticks and Lyme disease and tick-borne disease and take the measures that it takes to really prevent tick bites, or if you were to get a tick bite, then treat that immediately.”
Dr. Chesney tells us why she decided to write a book about preventing Lyme disease, and how living and working in an endemic area made her more passionate about prevention. In her book she provides pictures of different kinds of ticks, so that patients and practitioners are able to correctly identify ticks and understand which diseases they may carry, and describes in detail many ways people can prevent getting a tick bite in the first place.
Dr. Chesney shares with us a bit about her own practice, including collaborations over the years with an herbalist, medical doctors and currently a nurse practitioner. She points to the different roles practitioners have in a patient’s care, including primary care physicians and specialists such as neurologists and cardiologists. Finally she reiterates the importance of prevention and of adequate early treatment, to prevent the chronic symptoms of Lyme disease. Thank you Dr. Chesney for sharing your experience and expertise with us!
“If we could at least have the awareness raised so that physicians and practitioners…everybody gets on the same page with being aware of and looking for these symptoms, and knowing how to treat tick bites.”
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