People tend to think of inflammation as a bad thing, but in fact, it’s usually a helpful process that occurs naturally in the body. Inflammation is your system’s response to tissue damage and/or invasion of harmful bacteria; it comes in many shapes and sizes, and can occur thanks to the smallest of cuts or the most debilitating of diseases. Under the surface, your body is working hard to send white blood cells to the site of the damage or injury, in order to expedite the healing process. Although the area will swell, redden and feel tender, in the majority of cases, inflammation is a valuable process that proves your body is functioning normally.
Chronic inflammation is an entirely different thing. This process can occur in a number of long-term conditions, such as Lyme disease, lupus, fibromyalgia, MS, and a handful of other autoimmune disorders. In these cases, the inflammation response goes haywire and overexerts itself to a debilitating degree. When this occurs, inflammation is seen as a symptom of the disease – instead of helping the body heal, it compounds the condition that caused it in the first place. One of the primary challenges in fighting these types of chronic conditions is reducing the inflammation, which can be extremely challenging without the right methods. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to soothe inflammation symptoms. Here are five tips on how to do it!
Water is one of the most effective tools to keep the body functioning correctly. Hydrating properly on a day-to-day basis keeps harmful toxins moving through the liver and kidneys and supports the cells in carrying out their basic duties. It is estimated that three-quarters of people are chronically dehydrated, which compounds inflammation and impedes general bodily functions. Exposure to toxins is one of the major factors that influences all types of inflammation; keeping your water supply topped up will help flush them out before they have a chance to settle.
Get Enough Sleep
As well as not getting enough water into our systems, many of us also fail to get enough sleep. A full night’s rest is obviously crucial in so many ways, but when you don’t get enough of it, you tend to get stressed more easily. When you’re stressed out, your body produces more of the hormone cortisol, which promotes inflammation. Sleep is also crucial for cell regeneration. Most health professionals recommend at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night; if you’re not getting that, chances are that your body is having to work overtime to fight off any infections or illnesses that you might encounter. The end result of that process is inevitably increased inflammation. So give your cells as much support as possible by not skimping on sleep.
Use Natural Supplements
Natural supplements can be a great way to even out your body’s immune response. There are a number of anti-inflammatory products available on the market, depending on the level of inflammation present. Inflammation is also one of the most misunderstood symptoms of chronic Lyme, which affects millions of people worldwide. Make Well are experts in producing all-natural supplements that support the treatment of chronic diseases, and their OPC product is particularly effective in supporting symptoms of widespread inflammation. It contains bromelain, grape seed, curcuma and resveratrol, all of which contain significant anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties.
Keep Things Moving
Stagnancy is bad for any part of the body; keeping active is often a vital part of recovering from any sort of infection or injury, from Lyme disease to a pulled muscle. Your body requires fresh blood in order to reduce inflammation, as the affected sites often need to clear away metabolic debris and receive a constant flow of nutrients, delivered by the circulatory system. On top of that, exercise is often recommended as way to keep healthy generally. The better condition your body is in, the better it can fight off infections and keep inflammation at a minimum. You don’t have to rise at the crack of dawn and run a half marathon every day; it can be as simple as taking up a few minutes of yoga each day, or even taking the stairs instead of the lift. When it comes to keeping active, every little helps.
Focus on Your Gut
Your immune system’s HQ is located in the gut, which is often described as the body’s ‘second brain’. If you’re experiencing chronic inflammation, a good starting point is focusing on your gut health. Probiotics can provide valuable support to a debilitated gut; take them once a day to fill your digestive system with precious beneficial bacteria. Even if you’re currently not experiencing any inflammation, maintaining a healthy gut can provide you with the perfect support system if and when it does flare up. Also, keep track of what else you’re putting in there; sugar is fuel to the inflammation fire, so consuming large quantities of it will often put your body in a state of suspended inflammation. If you’re experiencing a case of chronic inflammation, start with cutting out as much sugar as you can.
Even though Morgellons disease affects thousands of people every year, it can sometimes still feel like you’re fighting the battle alone. Unfortunately, many doctors are not educated about the condition, so you might spend your time getting them up to speed. Additionally, because of some of the more unique symptoms (including feeling a sensation of insects crawling under the skin), Morgellons can be difficult to explain to friends and family. That’s why it’s crucial for you to find a network that can support you on your journey to healing. Here are some tips to guide you in finding a Morgellons support group.
Search online for in-person groups
A simple Google search might do the trick in helping you locate an in-person Morgellons support group. You might be able to find a group that meets up right in your area. These groups are great for connecting with other Morgellons sufferers who are facing the same struggles as you. However, it might be tricky to know where to find a Morgellons support group near you, especially if you live in a smaller town or in a rural area. So an online search can be a perfect place to start to see what resources might be available near you.
Visit Morgellons awareness sites
One helpful site is The Charles E. Holman Morgellons Disease Foundation. It’s a grassroots activist group that dedicates itself to the research, education, diagnosis and treatment of Morgellons disease. The site is full of resources for patients, including current research links and health tips. You can try contacting websites like this one to see if they’re aware of any support groups near you (or online) that you may be able to join.
Head to Facebook to meet other patients
Facebook has quickly become one of the best go-to sites for connecting people with patients who have the same diagnosis. There are many online support groups through this social media avenue that are ideal if you don’t live in an area with any in-person groups. As these groups are most often ‘closed,’ you simply have to request to join the group and be approved by the admins. After that step, you’ll be able to post questions and concerns to the group and read other people’s posts as well. Because these groups are ‘closed,’ the information you share will be kept private. A few options are:
- Morgellons Awareness – This page allows you to interact with other Morgellons patients, as well as providing you with articles and other resources to help with Morgellons awareness and recovery. Morgellons Awareness is open to everyone, so you can like or follow the page for up-to-date notifications of what’s happening within the group.
- Morgellons Extreme and Emerging Illnesses – With over 2,300 members, this group is a welcoming forum for patients to connect with each other over their common diagnosis of Morgellons disease.
- Morgellons: An Open Forum – This forum offers opportunities for patients to interact with over 2,500 other members in a safe environment.
- Morgellons Healing – With over 1,400 members, this group offers a chance to get support from other Morgellons sufferers, as well as ways to get healing tips or get questions answered from others with the diagnosis.
Check out MeetUp.com
MeetUp.com provides Morgellons patients with a way to meet other individuals with the same condition. You could try searching their site for in-person groups that meet up locally near you. If you don’t find a group near you that’s specifically for Morgellons, consider joining a group with a chronic illness theme. There could be some overlap in coping methods or healing tips that you can still find helpful. Your goal should be to find a group that can provide a supportive environment that will help you feel less alone. There are also opportunities for people to start their own MeetUp groups, so if you can’t find a group you’re interested in, think about organising one yourself.
Consider groups that meet via Skype or over the phone
During your search for support groups, you might come across some groups that hold meetings via Skype or over the phone. Just because these groups are not held in person, it doesn’t mean you can’t still get a lot of benefit from them. These types of meetings can also help you discover organisations in other countries where you can call in and participate without having to attend in person.
Talk with your doctor
It’s possible that your doctor knows of Morgellons support groups in your area that you might be able to check out. If you let your doctor know that you’re interested in joining a support group, they can keep their ears open for available options (especially if other patients also end up expressing interest).
Start your own group
As mentioned above, if there aren’t options for you to join a Morgellons support group, you can always start a group yourself. You can decide to do either an in-person one or an online group –whatever works best for you. This can be a good way to help raise awareness about Morgellons disease so that the condition can continue to be researched and talked about more frequently.
Even if you feel alone during your fight against Morgellons disease, you’re not. Try using these tips to find a Morgellons support group that will help you feel strong and cared for. Don’t let this disease isolate you – help is always available!
Because not all doctors are trained to properly spot and diagnose Lyme disease, there are many people who end up getting misdiagnosed with other conditions. One common misdiagnosis is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which does have some similarities to Lyme disease. Here’s a breakdown of why these conditions are sometimes confused for one another.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a mental illness that affects millions of people throughout Europe. It’s categorised as a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. During the fall and into the winter months, individuals with SAD experience symptoms of depression, fatigue and hopelessness. It’s also common for people with SAD to socially withdraw during this time period. These symptoms, unless they are accompanied by a major depressive disorder, typically resolve within a few months. Treatment options include light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy (talk therapy) and medication.
SAD can become confused with Lyme disease because people can present with some of the same symptoms. Both Lyme disease sufferers and people with SAD note fatigue, which can sometimes be extreme. This fatigue is often unexplainable and is not helped by an increase of sleep at night or by taking naps during the day. Both people with SAD and Lyme disease state that it becomes harder for them to complete daily activities because of the intense tiredness and low energy that they experience. The symptom of fatigue can also result in people with Lyme disease being misdiagnosed with other conditions, like chronic fatigue syndrome.
Another common symptom for both conditions is depression. SAD is marked with periods of intense sadness, hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness, and thoughts of death or suicide. These symptoms are present nearly every day during this period. Individuals with SAD also note that they have difficulty concentrating and don’t seem to enjoy activities that used to be fun for them. People with Lyme disease can also have these same feelings and face the same apathy towards the world. Lyme disease patients not only feel these symptoms because of possible neurological complications from the condition, but also because coping with a chronic illness like Lyme can be a defeating and frustrating challenge.
Both SAD and Lyme disease sufferers can also notice changes in their appetite and with their weight. SAD and Lyme disease tend to create a loss of appetite where the patient feels reluctant to eat. This can result in weight loss – a significant amount for some people. However, changes in eating habits or weight can’t be a sole factor in determining someone’s diagnosis between SAD or Lyme disease. Changes in sleeping patterns are also an indicator of both SAD and Lyme disease. Either oversleeping or not getting enough sleep (which can turn into insomnia) shows that a person is either being affected by a mood disorder like SAD or an infectious disease like Lyme.
Although SAD hits in the winter time, it is also possible for people to contract Lyme disease during this time, as ticks can still be prevalent even in colder weather. That means that the time of year can’t specifically work to rule out either diagnosis. The best way that a doctor can make an appropriate and accurate diagnosis is to take a full medical history of the patient, including questions related to past and present mood disorders and depression. Even if the doctor suspects the patient has general depression or SAD, additional bloodwork should be done to completely rule out Lyme disease. This step is crucial, especially if the patient has been out in nature or in areas where ticks could have been present and they could have been exposed to Lyme.
In treating Lyme disease, it makes a difference how quickly a person can receive the proper treatment protocol. In order to fight the infection and avoid the patient developing chronic Lyme disease symptoms (which can wreak havoc on the neurological and nervous systems), it’s imperative that doctors are both thoughtful and aggressive in their treatment approaches. There really isn’t any time to waste with a misdiagnosis. Although Lyme disease and SAD share a lot of common symptoms, the way they are treated is very different. Doctors should not be afraid to rule out SAD and test for Lyme disease in order to ensure the patient is getting the right diagnosis and an effective treatment plan.
There is also the possibility that a patient has both diagnoses. These individuals should work with their doctor to simultaneously treat the SAD symptoms as well as the Lyme disease ones. Patients can benefit from tackling the depression and fatigue along with other physical Lyme disease symptoms, as they focus on the wellbeing of both their mind and body. Individuals should make sure that they’re getting help for their medical conditions, while not ignoring how serious and debilitating the emotional symptoms can be.
The bottom line: although Seasonal Affective Disorder and Lyme disease can look similar, patients need a proper diagnosis before they can get the appropriate treatment they need to get their health back on track.
Now that the new year is in full swing, it’s time for you to get your health back on track. Many people choose to do a new year detox to help cleanse their bodies of any toxins. These detoxes can be particularly helpful for people with chronic illness who experience inflammation. Here are some tips to help you meet your nutritional goals in the new year.
Cut back on sugar
Everyone knows sugar isn’t a healthy thing to consume, but did you know that simple sugars can actually contribute to a host of health problems? Research shows that consuming sugar can result in a slower metabolism, more inflammation in the body, and a higher risk of obesity. To help reduce your sugar intake, try the following:
- Cut out sugar-sweetened beverages, such as sodas, juices and sports drinks
- Avoid processed foods (cakes, cookies, pastries, etc.)
- Skip breakfast cereals that are loaded with sugar
- Switch from flavoured yoghurt to natural yoghurt
Avoid trans fats
Trans fats only occur in highly processed foods which are fried or (partially) hardened. They might increase your risk of developing myriad chronic illnesses, and, so far, have not shown to have any beneficial effect on our body. To avoid them, check labels for anything that says ‘partially hydrogenated’ in the ingredients. Even if the label says ‘low in fat’, it could still include some dangerous trans fats. Steer clear of things like fried foods, frozen pizza, crackers and cookies to help remove trans fats from your diet.
Determine your food sensitivities
Being aware of any food sensitivities you might have can be really helpful in a new year detox. These sensitivities can make toxicity in your system worse because they can make your gut more permeable, resulting in toxins entering the bloodstream. Common food sensitivities include gluten, dairy, soy and corn. Try experimenting by eliminating one of these food groups for three to four weeks. If you notice a positive difference in how you’re feeling without one of these foods, consider eliminating it permanently from your diet. You can try each food out and see how you do before adding certain foods back in.
Try out supplements
A detox is the perfect time to add supplements to your regimen. If you suffer from Lyme disease or a similar chronic illness, try a nutritional supplement like DTC plus from Make Well. It has lots of healing ingredients, such as nettle, blueberry, cranberry, artichoke, sage, turmeric and chlorella. The supplement can help protect your liver from toxins, flush toxins out of your body, provide your body with more antioxidants, and reduce inflammation.
Include more healthy foods in your diet
So, what should you be eating? Here’s a list of foods that are always good to consume.
- Healthy fats and oils (like olive oil, coconut oil, linseed oil or walnut oil)
- Nuts and seeds
- Proteins (mostly from grass-fed beef or wild-caught seafood, organic and high quality plant-based protein)
- Fruits and veggies (organic if possible)
Think carefully about the foods you’re consuming. If you know it might not be healthy, don’t eat it! One way to think about it is to consider if your grandmother would have eaten it 50 years ago. Since there were less processed foods back then, she wasn’t snacking on toaster pastries and chips. But she would have been eating almonds or an apple! Thinking like this might help you make some better food choices.
Drink plenty of water
A detox will only be successful if you’re drinking an appropriate amount of water to help flush toxins out of the body. Men should be drinking about three litres of fluids a day, while women should be drinking about 2.2 litres. If this seems like an overwhelming amount, just think about it like four to eight sips of water every hour. Drinking enough water can assure you aren’t dehydrated and can help your body work better overall. One other tip is to eat foods that are full of water, including some fruits and veggies, broth-based soups and oatmeal. These foods provide your body with a little extra fluid, along with important vitamins and minerals you need.
Bypass trendy cleanses
Although juice cleanses have become trendy of late, they probably aren’t a good idea if you’re trying to focus on becoming healthier and feeling better. Fasts or strict cleanses will only leave you feeling hungry and sluggish. Restrictive cleanses can actually result in you having more physical symptoms, like constipation (from a lack of fibre) or bloating (from excess fructose in juices). Focusing more on eliminating unhealthy foods and stocking up on healthy ones is a much better bet (especially for someone with a chronic illness).
Treat your stomach better
Maintaining good digestive health is essential during a detox (and every other time of year). Try eating things like prunes, which can positively affect the bacteria in your gut, and lentils, beans, chickpeas and peas, which can strengthen the gut barrier and reduce the risk of gut-related diseases like inflammatory bowel disease. Pears are also a great choice since they have prebiotic fibre that promotes healthy intestines. Any foods high in fibre – whole grains, fruits and veggies – will all work to get your digestive system functioning better.
Abstain from alcohol
If you really want to start your year on the right foot, consider skipping alcohol for a little while. If you’re drinking during a detox, you’re not really allowing your body to be 100% free from potentially toxic substances. If completely skipping alcohol is out of the question, consider forgoing hard alcohol and sipping on some red wine (which at least has some antioxidants) instead.
Skip the snacks
Snacking can be a fun distraction throughout the day, but if you’re not being careful about what you’re choosing to eat, you could be adding unhealthy foods to your diet. Be conscious of what you’re consuming, even if it’s just a snack, and try to stick to healthier options like fruit or nuts.
It's not too late to start your year off right with a detox to help bring your body back to its healthiest state!
Morgellons symptoms are a bizarre set of afflictions that seem to only point to one diagnosis. Despite this, however, many patients are routinely told that they are completely imagining or inventing the disease, or else suffering from a mental condition that makes them believe they afflicted with something they’re not. Morgellons disease is a relatively new disorder, and has not been legitimised by any official medical body. Despite this, thousands upon thousands of patients have come forward as sufferers from the disease, making it hard to ignore or dismiss. Among them is famed singer Joni Mitchell, who claims she has been battling the condition for many years, despite general apathy from the medical community at large.
Perhaps the strangest of all Morgellons symptoms is the thin, thread-like fibres that seem to grow out from and underneath the skin. They appear in a variety of colours, primarily red, blue, white and black, and are constructed from what appears to be collagen and proteins, the same material that makes up hair and nails. In addition to the fibres, sufferers also present with lesions and abrasions all over their body, which is where the fibres seem to originate from. Despite these bizarre and unnerving symptoms, the most debilitating one faced by patients is a constant itching sensation all over the skin. This is an almost omnipresent sensation, and is generally not localised to one area or another. It is often described as feeling like ‘bugs crawling under the skin’; in fact, this was the exact way the first-discovered patient of Morgellons, the three-year-old son of Mary Leitao, described the symptom to his mother.
The need to scratch aggravates the numerous lesions, which in turn leads to more itching, forming a vicious circle of symptoms. So lessening the itching is a primary concern for Morgellons disease patients. Here are four natural ways to do it.
Take a Bath in Oatmeal
As strange as it sounds, people reportedly do find success with this method. Note that this is not the oatmeal you might eat for breakfast; it’s known as colloidal oatmeal, and comes in a finely powdered form. It can be added to water, with the resulting solution forming a beneficial protective barrier on the skin, shielding it from external wear and sealing in moisture. It’s also known to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the inflammation caused by the lesions and abrasions. Adding it directly to bath water can produce great results if done regularly; you can pick some up from your local pharmacy.
Apply a Special Cream
Recent research suggests that Morgellons might be an offshoot of Lyme disease. A report from last year strengthens that connection and estimates that almost every patient with Morgellons disease also tested positive for Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, the main causative agent of Lyme disease. However, the reverse was not found to be true; if you have Lyme, it doesn’t necessarily mean you automatically have Morgellons. Indeed, the latter seems to be a rare mutation of the former, but how and why this happens in some patients remains a mystery for now. Make Well have been producing all-natural products to support the treatment of chronic diseases such as Lyme disease for some time, and they have recently introduced some Morgellons-specific products to their line-up. ‘MRG derm’ is focused on healing the skin and reducing the irritation caused by the constant itching sensation, while ‘MRG plus’ contains anti-parasitic properties, and can be taken in conjunction with MRG derm.
Try a Natural Methanol Oil
Methanol is an essential oil that can be found in plants belonging to the mint family. The most common form is peppermint oil, which is utilised for many different conditions and is famed for its anti-inflammatory properties. Peppermint oil can also be great at soothing the constant itching sensation experienced by Morgellons patients. It is recommended to apply a small amount of oil (as it’s quite potent) to the area affected by the itch, two times a day for two weeks. Patients should soon start to see an improvement, while the instant cooling sensation will provide immediate relief to the symptoms.
Wet Wrap Therapy
Often the best way to find quick relief is via a cooling sensation, and sometimes peppermint oil won’t be enough, especially if the itching feeling is experienced all over the body. In these cases, patients should consider wet wrap therapy, which is a lot less intimidating than it may sound. It involves placing water-soaked fabrics or gauzes over areas of itchy skin in order to re-hydrate and soothe the most afflicted parts. In addition to the relief, the fabric provides an external barrier that helps prevent scratching and irritation. This technique is especially effective if there is a large flare-up of itching that needs to be tackled immediately, or if a child has a particularly bad case of itching and needs to stop irritating the skin. Alternatively, for Morgellons patients, it can provide a soothing relief when applied every few days for a few hours.
Anyone suffering from a chronic illness knows that getting sick can make things so much harder. Even if you’re already perfectly healthy, an illness can disrupt your whole life. That’s why it’s imperative to boost your immunity to keep your body strong and better able to fight off bacteria or viruses. One way to help your body deter invading germs and infections is to take hot baths. Taking baths has been a wellness treatment for centuries – you can look back through history and see how people used hydrotherapy and bathing to treat everything from the common cold and gout to cancer and the plague. While some of these have obviously been disproven over time, there are still tonnes of healing benefits to taking hot baths.
If you have a chronic illness, it can be vital to protect your body from getting sick. A warm bath can help your blood flow more easily, as well as making it more oxygenated. This can work to kill bacteria and improve your body’s immunity. If you’re already sick, hot baths can help you fight off continued symptoms of a cold or flu. Congestion is caused by inflammation in your nasal passages, so a steamy bath can get the blood vessels in your face and nose moving better and loosen any mucus blockages. Additionally, having an overall more relaxed nervous system can make your immune system healthier, so taking regular baths can help you reach optimal health.
Alleviates symptoms of depression
Many people with chronic illness also experience symptoms of depression. Some doctors have noted that because warm baths cause feelings of comfort and pleasure, your brain is better able to relax. Putting your mind at ease can be helpful in lessening depressive symptoms, such as sadness, hopelessness, isolation and loss of joy in other activities. Additionally, taking the time for acts of self-care can combat depression since you’re finding opportunities to experience positive emotions. If you have anxiety as well, hot baths can actually reduce your stress levels and calm your nervous system, so you’re less likely to experience intense anxiety.
Relieves muscle pain
Hot baths can be effective in helping to relieve muscle pain, too. The heat of the water can get your blood flowing better, which helps with overall circulation. This, in turn, can help sore or tight muscles that need to relax. Some people add Epsom salts to their hot baths to increase anti-inflammatory properties. These salt baths have been shown to reduce joint inflammation, which can be really helpful for people with persistent joint pain or arthritis. Also, to put it simply, taking a hot bath just generally feels good to aching muscles.
Makes your heart healthier
If you want to protect your ticker, you should definitely be spending some time in the tub. Taking regular hot baths has actually been proven to help reduce blood pressure – which can work to prevent serious heart issues like heart attack or stroke. The heat of the water also provides a way to achieve overall better blood flow and circulation to your heart and to the rest of your body.
Helps with irritated skin
Many people with chronic conditions (especially ones like Lyme disease, where people often get terrible rashes) experience irritated skin. It can be challenging to figure out how to treat the issue without making it worse. Warm baths (make sure the water isn’t too hot) can work to hydrate and heal dry or irritated skin. Some people add essential oils (such as coconut or lavender) to the water to help with the healing process. Plus, there’s the added bonus of aromatherapy to make you feel more relaxed. Additionally, for some skin conditions, you can take a warm oatmeal bath to reduce inflammation and soothe the skin.
Helps you sleep better
It’s not just an old wives’ tale that a warm bath can help you sleep better at night. When our body temperatures naturally lower at night, it signals our body to produce melatonin (also known as the ‘sleeping hormone’.) When you soak in a warm bath, you’ll raise your body temperature, but it will instantly drop when you get out of the bath – thus triggering melatonin to enter your system. You’ll then feel much more ready to sleep after taking a warm bath. A bath can also help you better relax overall so that your brain isn’t too active when you’re ready to lay your head down on the pillow.
Taking a warm bath (especially at night) is a great way to provide some much-needed love to your body. Not only are you setting some time aside just for yourself, you’re also signalling to your body and your brain that it’s okay to relax. Dealing with a chronic illness (or even just a busy life in general) can mean that you’re often left feeling stressed or out of sorts. A relaxing activity like a hot bath shows your system that it can calm down and absorb positive emotions and sensations every day. And while you’ll be able to see the positive aspects of taking time for yourself, you’ll also get all of these health benefits every time you draw up a hot bath.
As scary as Lyme disease can be for humans, it can also be devastating for animals as well. If you want to make sure your dog is safe from Lyme, check out these tips!
Keep your home protected from ticks
The best thing you can do to protect your dog (and yourself) from ticks is to make your home and garden as unfriendly to ticks as possible. First, make sure your grass is always cut short (no higher than 10 centimetres), and then remember to clean up all grass clippings (as these can create great hiding spots for ticks). Keeping weeds trimmed can also deter ticks. If you have wooded areas near your property, consider building a mulch moat to keep ticks out. You can add a 91-centimetre wide barrier of dry wood chips or bark around the perimeter of your property to act as a physical barrier to protect your garden. Next, be sure to keep your property clear of any fallen leaves or woodpiles, as these can be enticing hangouts for ticks.
Stay safe when in nature
When going on a hike or walk with your dog, make sure they stay on clear, well-marked paths and that they don’t stray into the woods. Ticks are more likely to be found in overgrown areas, tall grasses and marshes, so if you stick to the centre of the path, you and your pup should be safer.
Check them for ticks
As soon as your pet returns from being outdoors, immediately check their coat. Part their fur with your fingers so you can see the spot where their coat meets their skin. Be on the lookout for ticks themselves or bumps that might be an indication of a tick bite. It’s especially important to check hard-to-see places, such as under their legs or inside of their ears. Ticks can be hiding anywhere on your dog, so make sure you’re doing a thorough inspection every time they come back inside.
Remove ticks as soon as possible
If you do find a tick on your dog, make sure to remove it as quickly as you can. Remember to never use your fingers – this method doesn’t usually work anyway and can actually further inject infection into the body. The most common way to remove a tick is with a pair of tweezers. The fine-point pairs will work the best. Spread your dog’s fur, then grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Then, gently, pull straight upward in a slow, even motion. This keeps the tick’s mouth from breaking off and staying embedded in the skin. There are also tick removal kits with hooks on the market that can be effective as well. After you’ve gotten rid of the tick, wash your hands thoroughly and clean the bite site with rubbing alcohol. Additionally, don’t forget to wash the tweezers or tick removal tool with disinfectant.
Watch your dog for signs of infection
Dogs infected with Lyme might not have any symptoms for up to two to five months after the initial bite, so you’ll need to stay vigilant for a long time. Your pup might have a fever, loss of appetite, lameness, joint swelling and/or inflammation, or decreased activity. If your dog is exhibiting these types of symptoms, take them to the vet immediately, where they can use a blood test to diagnose Lyme. They’ll then typically prescribe antibiotics for your dog.
Talk with your veterinarian
To ensure your pup is protected, talk to your vet about possible tick-preventive products. These medications can keep your pet safe from tick bites from the start. Some people choose to use natural products for their pets instead of medications. To do this, you can add one cup of water to a spray bottle, along with two cups of distilled white vinegar. Add two spoonfuls of vegetable or almond oil (which contains sulphur), and then spray onto your dog’s dry coat – being careful not to get it into their eyes or other sensitive areas! If they’re going to be spending an entire day outside, try spraying them several times a day. Both the vinegar and sulphur work as natural tick repellents. Of course, it’s always a good idea to check with your veterinarian before using any product (natural or otherwise) on your dog. Some veterinarians also suggest vaccinating your dog against Lyme disease. They can make a recommendation about a vaccination based on where you’re located, your dog’s lifestyle and overall health, and other factors. The vaccination normally consists of an initial vaccination, followed by a booster shot two to four weeks later, and annual booster shots thereafter.
Get tested yourself
If your dog has contracted Lyme disease, you’re at an increased risk for having the infection yourself. Since your dog was exposed to ticks, it’s likely you were too. Be on the lookout for symptoms that present in humans (such as a bullseye rash, joint pain, extreme fatigue, headaches etc.), and head to your doctor to get evaluated to make sure you’re diagnosing Lyme as soon as possible if you have it.
Your dog is part of the family, so get them the best care by keeping your home tick-free and getting them tested if you think they might have been bitten.
Lyme disease is a condition that isn’t super well-known to people, which can make those suffering from it feel alone. Fortunately, a growing number of celebrities have become more open about sharing their own experiences battling Lyme disease. Here’s a look at 10 well-known names who are helping to increase awareness of the condition.
This country singer has been a star since the ‘90s but she had to keep problems with her voice under wraps to avoid worrying fans. Twain was diagnosed with Lyme disease back in 2003 (she actually saw the tick fall off of her), which led to her having symptoms of dysphonia – a vocal cord disorder that can make singing difficult. She told People, ‘I was very scared for a little while that I wouldn’t sing again, ever.’ Although singing now requires more work (longer warmups and physical therapy), Twain has been able to continue her successful career and strive to educate people about Lyme disease. Last year, she told the Canadian Press, ‘You have a very short window to catch it and then treat it, and then even when you treat it, you could still very well be left with effects, which is what happened to me. Normally it can attack your nervous system or the vital organs – heart, liver, kidneys, nervous system. It’s a debilitating disease and extremely dangerous. You can’t play around with it, so you’ve got to check yourself for ticks.’
Stiller has been open about his diagnosis with Lyme disease since back in 2010. The actor (best known for his comedies Meet the Parents, Zoolander etc.) believes he contracted Lyme on a trip to Nantucket, Massachusetts. He told The Hollywood Reporter, ‘My knee became inflamed and they couldn’t figure out what it was, then they found out it was Lyme. I’m symptom-free now, but Lyme doesn’t ever leave your system. It’s a really tough thing.’
Hadid has become one of the most outspoken celebrities when it comes to her Lyme disease diagnosis. She used her time on the reality show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to show her honest and open struggle with the condition. She has also written a book called Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme Disease. In 2016, she spoke at the Global Lyme Alliance Gala, where she said, ‘This disease has brought me and many others to our knees, often wishing to die of utter hopelessness and exhaustion. Like I always say, you don’t get it until you get it. It’s hard for people to understand the invisible disability that owns our life, especially behind the beautiful face that shines so bright on the covers of magazines.’ Hadid, along with two of her children (son Anwar and daughter Bella), still continues to cope with symptoms of Lyme disease today.
Back in 2011, Baldwin first disclosed that he had chronic Lyme disease. He told People in 2017 that he had been bitten by a tick nearly 17 years prior and then was bitten again a few years later. He said, ‘I got classic Lyme disease symptoms for each successive summer, for five years, every August, like these black lung, flu-like symptoms, sweating to death in my bed. The first time was the worst of all. And I really thought, “This is it, I’m not going to live.” I was lying in bed saying, “I’m going to die of Lyme disease in my bed.”’ Baldwin often speaks at Lyme disease events, including serving as Master of Ceremonies at the Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s 2017 gala, LymeAid. He also notes that he and his wife stay vigilant about checking their dogs and children for ticks.
Singer Lavigne has also been forthcoming about her battle with Lyme after being bitten by a tick in 2014. She was bedridden for nearly two years but has since seen her health improve with the proper treatment regimen. As she progresses with her own healing, she’s also advocating for more awareness of Lyme disease and has helped to raise funds (especially for children and young adults) who are dealing with the illness. Lavigne even wrote a song, titled ‘Head Above Water’, about her journey living with Lyme.
Hilfiger, the daughter of fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, has had a long journey with Lyme disease. She was bitten in 1992 at the age of seven and struggled to get the proper diagnosis and treatment for decades. She wrote a book in 2017 called Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made Me Crazy, and Almost Killed Me. In it, she writes, ‘I was convinced that bugs were crawling in my body. I could feel them eating at my organs, my stomach, and especially my brain...I wasn’t me anymore. I was a weakly projected image of myself on a wall, crying out for someone to help me and figure out what was wrong.’
Osbourne, who has been famous since 2002 when she starred in a reality show with her rockstar dad, Ozzy Osbourne, was bitten by a tick in 2004. Her dad was having a party that included a reindeer sanctuary. During the party, Osbourne was bitten by a tick from one of the reindeer. She immediately started to experience symptoms, including a sore throat and stomach pain. In her memoir, There Is No F*cking Secret: Letters from a Badass Bitch, she writes, ‘I’ve learned to advocate for myself when it comes to my health, and I trust my intuition. If I think something is wrong, I refuse to let anyone dismiss it. And sadly, I stay the f--- away from reindeer.’
The bestselling author suffers from chronic Lyme disease. On her website, she writes, ‘I passed off my early symptoms as stress and too many airplane rides with little sleep. I had an accumulating array of discomforts – a stiff neck, insomnia, a constant headache, and a bad back followed by a frozen shoulder.’ She developed additional symptoms of nausea and seizures before she was able to receive a proper diagnosis of Lyme almost four years later. Today, she continues to push for new diagnosis and treatment standards for Lyme disease patients, as well as improved insurance coverage for Lyme sufferers.
Famous rocker Hall (one half of the band Hall & Oates) also suffered from symptoms he had trouble explaining. He told Healthline, ‘I used to think I had allergies because I used to feel feverish. And then one day I got a really high fever, my neck stiffened up, I had all kinds of aches and pains and I got really bad tremors.’ The symptoms were so debilitating that he had to cancel a tour and focus on his treatment. The singer notes that he’s lived in out in the countryside for many years, which is ‘a hotbed for deer and other wildlife’, and that his wife and two stepchildren also suffer from Lyme disease.
Sigler, best known for her role on The Sopranos, contracted Lyme disease back in 2001 while filming a movie in rural New Jersey. She began experiencing a tingling sensation in her feet and paralysis of her legs. She spent five days in the hospital, where she was diagnosed with Lyme disease. After receiving antibiotic treatment, she began to improve. More recently, Sigler was also diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and is learning to cope with and manage both of these conditions.
Prescription drugs are a large part of why our collective health in 2018 is so positive. They perform many duties for us – healing sickness, easing pains and regulating long-term or chronic conditions. However, it’s no big secret that strong prescription medication can come with potentially debilitating side effects. The specific set of side effects a patient might suffer from is almost impossible to quantify, as it’s different for everyone. The severity of the symptoms will also undoubtedly differ from patient to patient, making it impossible for doctors to estimate how each person will be affected by a particular medication. However, if the medicine is a necessity, there are methods you can use to minimise side effects, while giving the medication the best chance to do its job.
The first thing you can do is to be informed. All medications are required to list side effects in their accompanying pamphlets, but reading these in succession is enough to induce anxiety in anyone. The smallest possible side effect to the most extreme are all required to be listed by law, even if the chances of most of them happening are extremely remote. The best way to keep informed is to consult with your doctor before starting the medication. They should be able to give you an informed opinion on what side effects you might expect, based on your medical history and your doctor’s experience. Armed with some information, you’ll be able to start your treatment well-prepared.
In some cases, though, no matter how much you know, you’ll still suffer from side effects due to the medication being so strong. If something comes up that you hadn’t anticipated, or that your doctor has never mentioned before, you should consult with them or your pharmacist right away. A change of brand might be in order. It’s worth keeping in mind that not every brand of drug in the same class uses identical ingredients, meaning that just because a patient had a bad reaction, it doesn't necessarily rule them out of taking similar types of drugs.
Strong medication impacts the body regardless of what type it is. Your job is to preserve the balance between the medication and your body. This balance is delicate, and may require you to make some lifestyle changes to accommodate the daily medication. A healthy diet is one of the primary ways to keep your body functioning well, giving it the best chance to mitigate the side effects of strong medication. Copious amounts of proteins, healthy fats and vegetables are an excellent way to fortify your body, while reducing your intake of refined sugar and carbohydrates will ensure your diet doesn’t exacerbate your condition.
Supplements can also be added to ensure you’re benefiting from the correct vitamins and minerals, though do consult with your doctor before starting any natural supplements, as some can potentially interfere with your medication. It’s also worth keeping in mind that some supplements can act as a substitute for medication, depending on the condition. The experts at Make Well produce a comprehensive line-up of all-natural herbal supplements that support treatment of chronic conditions. If you’re worried about the side effects of synthesised medicine, or if you’ve had a bad reaction already, herbal supplements might be worth looking into with your doctor.
Another factor that might be aggravating side effects is when you take your medicine, and in what quantity. Many serious conditions require a number of medications, and most people take them all at the same time. This can be useful for remembering to take them all, but not necessarily the best preventer of side effects. Talk to your doctor about potentially spacing out your various medications throughout the day, or maybe taking some with meals, to provide some more robust support for your body. Some medications may cause drowsiness as a side effect too, so the optimum time to take those might be just before bed, instead of first thing in the morning. The timing of when you take your medicine can make all the difference when it comes to potential side effects.
Ultimately, making sure you get the best out of your medication while suffering the least amount of side effects is a balancing act, and one that requires a lot of trial and error. Until you actually start taking a medication, it can be very hard to predict exactly what might occur in your individual situation. Your doctor is there to help you; if you’re concerned about any of the potentially debilitating side effects, either before or during your course of medication, consult with your doctor. They will be able to advise you and make the necessary adjustments to your medicine in accordance with your body’s individual reaction. Strong medications may come with undesirable side effects, but they are sometimes a necessary evil; overall, we can thank these medications for the generally good state of our health in 2018.
Heart disease is a major problem all over the world. Although it’s hard to gather information from all four corners of the globe, statistics consistently show that heart disease, also known as Cardiovascular Disease or CVD, is the number one killer of people on a global scale. It is responsible for around 30% of worldwide deaths every year. Of course, ‘heart disease’ is an umbrella term that refers to many varied types of cardiovascular conditions, including coronary heart disease and deep vein thrombosis. The end result of these disorders over time is often a heart attack, which can often be the fatal culmination of sustained disease. Yet there are ways to fight back against heart issues and many avenues of treatment. Many people avail of natural supplements to support their treatment plans. Taken in the right doses, herbal supplements can aid in the reduction of some of the major causes of heart disease.
The first thing that’s beneficial about herbal supplements is that they’re 100% natural. People who suffer from heart disease might already be on medication, and wary of adding more into the mix. Herbal supplements largely circumvent that danger by being natural, although it is important to consult with your doctor before making the decision to go on them long-term. While there are few concerning side-effects linked with supplements in theory, some of them can react with prescribed heart medications or other supplements, and cause an adverse effect in the patient. This is an important point to note; it’s also prudent to consult a medical professional before starting on a supplement, as they will know exactly which type can best benefit your specific condition. There are a lot out there to choose from!
Supplements work best in a considered treatment program, supporting a good diet and sustained exercise. They can also be utilised as part of a prevention method; you might only be at risk for heart disease, and want to make the first strike. In this case, herbal supplements can provide robust support along with exercise and diet, lessening the potential for heart disease in the future. It’s also important to note that supplements are meant to be just that: supplements. They are not considered substitutions for food or drink – in fact, this would lessen their impact in the body.
So which supplements promote heart health, and which don’t? There is a large number that can potentially be beneficial, but in many ways it depends on the causes of your specific heart problems. These supplements should be paired with a suitable diet, as the vitamins we extract from the foods we eat are often the first line of defence against any kind of heart problems. Fruit, vegetables, grains and nuts all provide a strong grounding of fibre, which is crucial for regulating cholesterol and blood pressure.
In addition to fibre, supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids can combine with a healthy diet to reduce the risk of heart disease. Many people are familiar with the so-called ‘Mediterranean Diet’, which is predominantly made up of seafood and subsequently fish oils; this has long been thought of as a way to increase heart health, as many people who consume this kind of diet often live longer. Omega-3 has been shown to lower triglyceride levels, and even have an effect on blood pressure, making these supplements a top choice to support heart health.
Coenzyme Q10 might sound intimidating, but in actual fact it’s a completely natural chemical that our bodies produce a lot of. Q10 helps produce something called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Since the heart is a constantly active muscle, it requires a lot of ATP, which is why Q10 is essential – but low cholesterol and ageing often deplete it. Studies have shown that this important chemical can reduce oxidative stress and increase antioxidant activity, making it a safe and influential supplement option for people concerned about their heart.
Magnesium and potassium are two naturally occurring elements found in a selection of foods, but a deficiency of either can have unpleasant consequences for people in a number of ways, not just heart-wise. Magnesium has been proven to help reduce blood pressure and increase heart function overall. In addition, magnesium deficiency can cause a specific condition called hypomagnesemia, which can cause all sorts of complications. Keeping your magnesium intake regulated is certainly a good thing for your heart and body health overall. Potassium, on the other hand, is important in offsetting the high salt levels often found in the everyday 2018 diet, while it’s also been shown to improve overall heart function.
For a support for the health of your heart, different supplements are available on the market. Supplements can be a great addition to treatment plans for many conditions, as well as being a prudent prevention method for any future issues. However, before you decide to commit to any long-term, it’s prudent to consult with a medical professional to ensure you the best treatment and combination for your health.