Larry Langdon
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Why Smoking Cessation is Important for Recovering from Lyme Disease

Why Smoking Cessation is Important for Recovering from Lyme Disease

As an infectious disease that is quickly growing more common across the globe, Lyme disease is becoming a major concern. It is the most common vector-borne illness in the US, with about 35,000 new cases reported yearly. But experts believe there could be discrepancies between reported cases and the actual number of infections, especially since Lyme disease has flu-like symptoms that make diagnosis tricky.

Although the early, localized disease can be treated with antibiotics, late-stage, and severe Lyme disease may result in complications that require prolonged courses or a transition to oral therapy. But regardless of the stage of the disease, unhealthy habits such as smoking can hinder the success of treatment and may even further complicate the illness. Below, we discuss why smoking cessation is crucial for Lyme disease patients and how they can live smoke-free lifestyles to improve their conditions and overall health.


The link between smoking and Lyme disease

Firstly, Lyme disease must be understood as an inflammatory condition, as its signs and symptoms typically include skin rash and painful inflammation of the joints. Unfortunately, tobacco smoke contains harmful chemicals and free radicals, such as reactive oxygen species, that result in oxidative damage—otherwise known as a key contributor to inflammation. As a result, Lyme disease patients who smoke may exhibit more frequent inflammatory responses and flare-ups.

Proper flow of oxygen and nutrients is also essential for combatting the inflammatory process in Lyme disease. However, people who smoke tobacco inhale carbon monoxide, which makes it harder for oxygen to be delivered to the rest of the body. This means smoking only magnifies patients’ difficulty in obtaining adequate oxygen levels, thereby exacerbating the chronic inflammation associated with Lyme disease. Lastly, smoking impairs the immune system and weakens the body’s ability to fight infectious diseases. This ultimately underscores the need for smokers to quit so as to not worsen the adverse effects of Lyme disease.


Tips for healthy smoking cessation

Seek professional support

While there are smokers who successfully quit on their own, it still helps to seek support from certified quit coaches or healthcare providers. Aside from providing practical and informative advice, these experts can help you create a quit plan that takes into account your specific health needs as a Lyme disease patient. For instance, if you plan on using prescription medication to aid in smoking cessation, these experts will likely know which drugs won’t interfere with your current disease treatment.

Try nicotine replacement therapy

While nicotine patches are among the most common forms of over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), their transdermal application for direct nicotine delivery may irritate your skin or worsen inflammation. As an alternative, you can try a tobacco-free nicotine pouch. As shown by the tobacco-free nicotine pouches on Prilla, they provide a discreet oral delivery as the user only needs to place the pouch under the lip to release the nicotine. You can choose from various brands like ZYN and Rogue, flavors like mint and citrus, and doses ranging from light to strong to help ease the transition from reduced tobacco consumption to complete abstinence. Another option is to use fast-acting mouth sprays from McNeil AB's Nicorette brand. A study found that this mouth spray is an effective and safe cessation method and can even be linked to a behavioral support app to create a quit plan, track your NRT usage, and monitor your overall cessation progress.


Add probiotics to your diet

There’s no official diet for smokers trying to quit, but probiotics can help restore and boost the activity in key immune cells. As discussed in a previous post, probiotics are beneficial for Lyme disease treatment and symptom relief, allowing patients to target both health problems at once. You can get probiotics through supplementation and fermented foods like yogurt, kombucha, and sauerkraut.

Clearly, there is a wide range of health benefits brought about by smoking cessation. Once you've successfully weaned off the habit, consider Sentient Light's treatment services for Lyme disease, which include PEMF machines for the relief or reduction of inflammatory symptoms. Find out more by exploring the rest of the website.