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Larry Langdon
/ Categories: Lyme Disease

Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction and Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, a corkscrew-shaped bacterium. Lyme disease is known as "The Great Imitator" because its symptoms are similar to those of many other diseases. Any organ in the body, including the brain and neurological system, muscles and joints, the heart, and even the might be affected. The spirochete bacteria that causes Lyme disease, is transmitted by the bite of infected ticks. The disease is carried by the blacklegged tick (or deer tick, Ixodes scapularis).

 

Because lyme disease and tick-borne infections are complicated disorders, therapy can be difficult. Symptoms may get worse before they get better while being treated for Lyme disease. This is because of a reaction known as the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, which usually occurs after beginning antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease and other diseases caused by spirochete bacteria. The reaction usually occurs between 1 and 12 hours after the first antibiotic injection and can last anywhere from a few hours to a day. It usually goes away on it’s own or with symptomatic treatment, methods of detoxification and alternative home/ lifestyle remedies. The severity of inflammation is determined by the intensity of the reaction.

 

Understanding The Pathophysiology Of Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction

After starting antibiotic treatment for spirochetal illnesses like syphilis, Lyme disease, and tick-borne relapsing-fever, you may have the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, also known as "herxing" or "herxing." There is temporary aggravation of Lyme disease symptoms that happens when the Lyme spirochete bacteria is wiped out by antibiotics, causing inflammation. These reactions produce cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-8), which are a broad category of small proteins required in cell signaling. This cytokine release cause inflammatory symptoms as fever, muscle and joint pain, headaches, cognitive impairment, and a general aggravation of the underlying Lyme symptomology.

 

Inflammatory cytokines and dying bacteria must be removed from the body in order to support healing. When the body is unable to remove these poisons from the bloodstream quickly enough, an acid imbalance occurs, impairing the enzymes required to maintain a normal pH (balance of acidity to alkalinity). The reaction will be stronger the more spirochetes that die. People will feel better faster if they can eliminate dead bacteria from their body as quickly as possible. With Lyme patients, this cleansing or detoxifying process is usually referred to as "detox."

 

Lyme herx normally starts 48-72 hours after starting antibiotics and can continue weeks, unlike syphilis, which starts within hours and usually finishes within days.

The worst reaction for patients with chronic or late-stage Lyme disease occurs around the fourth week of treatment, and is very similar to "serum sickness," in which white blood cell loss (leucopenia) and a spike in liver enzymes occur. A reaction at week four suggests that the disease is still present.

 

Conditions associated Jarisch-Herxheimer

Besides Lyme disease, Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction is also seen in other spirochete bacterial infections, which includes syphilis, relapsing fever and leptospirosis.

 

How Do You Differentiate Between A Herx And An Adverse Drug Reaction?

It's crucial to understand the difference between a herx and an unfavourable medication reaction (ADR). A spirochetal infection can be detected by the development of a Herxheimer response. If you're being treated for Lyme disease based on a clinical diagnosis, the herx may be an indication that you're killing the proper bacteria. Herxheimer reactions are usually pretty intense.

Adverse medication reactions, on the other hand, can range from moderate to severe, and are frequently misdiagnosed as a herx.  Drug reactions appear to be more consistent with what is reported in the drug manufacturer's papers. Of course, with antimicrobials, you can have both at the same time.

Mild ADRs usually go away soon after the medicine is stopped. A severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, causes the airways to swell up, get blocked and can be fatal if not treated immediately.

It's usually a good idea to tell your doctor right away or vist the ER if you feel unusually unwell and have difficulty breathing.

 

What Are The Types Of Jarisch-Herxheimer Reactions?

When it comes to herx, there are two types: good herx and bad herx.

Essentially, following a good herx, the patient will see a reduction in symptoms and begin to feel better. In the case of a bad herx, the patient will return to their previous baseline after the flare, with no improvement in overall symptoms.

The Herxheimer reaction is a common side effect of late-stage or chronic Lyme disease treatment, but it's critical to manage it. A severe herx can be life-threatening in rare cases. If you're having severe symptoms, I recommend heading to the nearest emergency room.

 

How Does Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction Present?

The reaction usually occurs between 1 and 12 hours after the first antibiotic injection and can last anywhere from a few hours to a day.  Following therapy, it is no longer visible. The severity of inflammation is determined by the intensity of the reaction.

Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction presents with the following signs and symptoms:

  • Malaise (body pain)
  • Fever
  • A flush from vasodilation
  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Leukocytosis
  • Any existing skin lesions become more visible.
  • Hypertension (increased blood pressure) or hypotension (reduction in blood pressure) due to vasodilation and decreasing peripheral resistance.
  • Hyperventilation (rapid breathing)
  • A secondary rash that was not seen before treatment may appear.
  • Rigidity
  • Headache
  • Anxiety

 

Some case reports indicate that the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction can also include the following less common signs and symptoms:

  • Uterine contractions in pregnant women
  • Worsening kidney and liver  function
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome,
  • Myocardial injury (heart damage)
  • Meningitis (inflammation of the brian)
  • Altered consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Strokes.

 

What Tests Are Done For Jarisch-Herxheimer?

In most cases, no further investigation is necessary for Jarisch-Herxheimer.  However, if an unanticipated reaction to antibiotic treatment develops, syphilis serological testing and other tests are required.

 

How is Jarisch-Herxheimer Treated?

Prophylaxis and anti-inflammatory medication may be used to halt the progression of the reaction. As a supplementary treatment, oral aspirin or ibuprofen every four hours for a day, or steroid medication orally or intravenously, has been employed. Steroids, on the other hand, are rarely beneficial. Patients must be continuously watched for potential consequences (collapse and shock), and IV fluids may be required to keep their blood pressure stable. If required opioid analgesic (pain killers), may be prescribed to lessen the intensity of the reaction. Doctors can usually can manage herx symptoms. So, if patients respond, the doctor can use a range of detox treatments to relieve any pain and other symptoms:

 

Common detox treatments that may be advised doctors

The process of detoxification is the removal of toxins from the bloodstream. Toxins are eliminated by the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin.

 

Detox IV Homotoxicology

It is easier for your body to get rid of poisons when they are bonded together. This isn't something they do naturally. Your doctor can do this instead by using IV Homotoxicology. Any negative symptoms, such as those associated with a herxheimer reaction, will fade away faster if the toxins are removed quickly.

 

Detoxification Chelation

Heavy metal is in everyone's system. They're in our food, pharmaceuticals, and even our drinking water. Examples include Zinc, copper, lead, mercury, and aluminium. Heavy metals promote inflammation in the body, which makes detoxing difficult. If you have Lyme disease, the inflammation can be even severe, making cleansing difficult.

As a result, your doctor can provide chelation to aid in the detoxification of your body and the alleviation of any symptoms associated with a herx response. The drug utilised in this procedure encircles the heavy metal poisons and causes them to deactivate. They leave your body through urine once they've become inactive.

 

Detoxification Supplements

Therapeutic substances that aid in the detoxification process are available to Lyme specialists. Activated charcoal has two distinct advantages. It helps to relieve inflammation by acting as a relaxing supplement. It also binds to toxins, making it easier for them to leave the body. Your liver works tirelessly to cleanse your system. It could need all of the help it can get. Glutathione is one vitamin that helps to maintain the liver. It not only relieves the symptoms of a herx response, but it also provides additional benefits, such as improved sleep.

 

Lymphatic System Drainage

Your muscles function every time you move your body. Your organs, tissues, and cells can do their job of eliminating toxins and waste from your body when your muscles are engaged.

Simple activities such as walking, stretching, and bending can help if there is no pain. Massage, which targets specific regions on the body to urge the body to aid in the detox process, is one way to drain your lymphatic system.

 

Alternative Treatments for Detoxification

There are several alternative therapies and home remedies that can help you avoid or reduce herx responses when detoxing.

The following methods of detoxification can help in the removal of toxins from the bloodstream. Toxins are eliminated by the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin. The following can assist in alkalinization, detoxification, inflammation reduction, and supplementation, improving the symptoms of Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction:

 

1.  Apple Cider Vinegar: Vinegar aids in the body's alkalization and pH balance repair. A glass of water with two teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar in it can be drank. Using apple cider vinegar in the presence of a Candida fungal infection may trigger a herxheimer reaction rather than lowering it, so it should be avoided.

 

2. Activated Charcoal: Activated Charcoal binds to the poisons that produce the herxheimer reaction and aids detoxification by removing them. It can be ingested as needed or within a few hours of finishing a treatment. It's available as a pill, powder, or capsule. If you're taking any medications or supplements, proceed with caution and seek medical advice.

 

3. Alka Seltzer Gold: Assists in bodily alkalinization and the removal of contaminants. As needed for herxing, two tables can be mixed in water lemon water as instructed on the carton. When coupled with lemon water, it alkalizes.

 

4. Dry Skin Brushing: Dry skin brushing stimulates the lymphatic system. A natural bristle brush might help to cleanse the pores. Before having an Epsom Salt Bath, this is normally done.

 

5. Lemon Water: Lemons aid in detoxification and the removal of toxins from the body. Squeeze two whole lemons into a cup of water and drink over 30 minutes.

 

6. Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps the body produce glutathione, which is a natural antioxidant.

 

7. Oil pulling is the practise of gently swishing coconut oil around in your mouth. Toxins and bacteria are drawn from your mouth's mucous membranes by the oil. Coconut oil has a high rate of absorption.

 

8. Light to moderate exercise: Muscle contractions stimulate the lymphatic system and increase perspiration, both of which aid in detoxification.

 

9. Infrared Saunas, Biomats, and Infrared Mats: Infrared heat helps pain while sweating off toxins. Saunas and mats with infrared technology are highly suggested. Avoid full-body saunas if you have heat intolerance, such as dysautonomia.

 

10. Epsom salt: Epsom salt aids in the detoxification process. In a warm bath, add two to four cups of Epsom salt (which can be blended with ginger or pink sea salt to increase sweating). Magnesium relaxes muscles, and sulphur produces bile, which transports toxins from the liver to the colon.

 

11. Foot Baths: There are many different types of special Foot Baths, and people's outcomes vary, but they use charged ions to help open detox pathways in the body by soaking your feet and removing toxins through the soles of your feet.

 

12. Bentonite Clay contains a high electrical negative charge that binds to the positive charge of toxins, allowing them to be eliminated from the skin and body. It can be used as a mask by mixing it with water and applying it to the face and armpits.

 

13. Glutathione: Glutathionine S-transferase (GST) production in the liver is increased. GST is a powerful enzyme that binds to toxins, metabolises them, and removes them from the body. 3 tablespoons organic ground coffee, combined with room temperature water in an enema bag The drug should be injected into the rectum. Before removing the coffee, wait 5-15 minutes for it to settle in the intestines. If you leave the coffee in your cup for more than 15 minutes, it will be absorbed at a higher concentration than you want, which is potentially harmful. Always seek counsel from a professional.

 

14. Increase fibre intake and hydration: Fiber and water help in detoxification. Every day, you must drink 1/2 of your optimal body weight in ounces (ie: a 150 pound person should drink 75 ounces of water a day). This helps to cleanse the kidneys and promotes regular bowel movements. To bind toxins in the intestines and induce regular bowel movements, 3 or more servings of fibre per day are required. Fibre is abundant in beans, lentils, and whole grains. Apples are also a good source.

 

15. Nutritional supplements: In many cases, good nutrition is insufficient to provide the vital nutrients required to maintain the detoxifying organs. A well­balanced multivitamin with mixed amino acids, taken on a regular basis, is the foundation of detoxification. In cells, N-Acetyl Cysteine and Alpha Lipoic Acid are utilised to generate active glutathione (NAC). Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant generated by all cells and used by the liver to detoxify fat-soluble contaminants. Most oral glutathione supplements, unfortunately, are poorly absorbed. However, newer sources wrap glutathione in fats called phospholipids microscopically to improve absorption. Methylcobalamin is also a beneficial dietary supplement. Many over-the-counter nutritional supplements are not FDA approved and should not be consumed without first contacting a doctor.

 

16. Probiotics: Toxins are eliminated from the intestines by probiotics (good microorganisms). It is common for people with Lyme disease to have harmful bacteria in their intestines as a result of herbal or prescription treatments, as well as the stress of the illness. Re-establishing a healthy lining with high-quality probiotics can help with detoxification.

 

If the aforementioned treatments don't work and your symptoms are getting worse or you notice new ones, you should consult a doctor immediately.

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557820/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5239707/

https://www.icjournal.org/pdf/10.3947/ic.2021.0008

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