One simple tool to diagnose Lyme disease (and some co-infections) is to try a definitive treatment and see how the patient responds. A treatment for Lyme disease can be as simple as taking 1/4 teaspoon of Himalayan salt every 4 hours for up to *2 weeks. The treatment kills bacteria which causes a “herxheimer effect” or a flaring of symptoms caused by neurotoxins released when spirochete bacteria is destroyed. Another tool for treating Lyme that is inexpensive and readily available is Cinnamon oil.
*Please note that a few days of treatment will cause a herx if you are recently infected, but it takes longer if you have a very long-term infection.
Treatment will not cause a healthy body to feel sick – perhaps bloated, in the case of salt, but not sick. WARNING: Some alternative treatments that are internet driven can be harmful and cause general malaise or even worse. It cannot be overstated that all of us should be supervised by an LLMD.
Treating Bartonella does not usually cause a herx, but due to the synergy of bacteria in the human body, and the cross-over of symptoms between the two tick-borne diseases it can be hard to differentiate.
Some experts believe that Bartonella is far more widespread than Lyme disease and both easier to catch and harder to treat. For instance, Bartonella has been found in over 95% of the cats tested in California, and a simple scratch can start an infection. On it’s own Bartonella can be kept at bay by a strong immune system. However, a body infected with Borreliosis will be much more susceptible to a lasting infection.
Diagnosing and treating Babesia can be even more obtuse.
According to Dr. Horowitz, diagnosing Babesia requires a panel testing.
“… what I suggest to people is a Babesia panel approach. You can’t pick it up on one test. You want to do a panel approach with these different tests if you’ve ruled the patient out for these other diseases that cause sweats and chills and especially if they have a multi-systemic illness of good days and bad days, women usually flare right before, during, or after their menstrual cycle with Lyme disease, and especially if you had a case of Lyme where you’re not getting over it and you’re very, very ill. And that’s–that’s basically the way that we do it in our practice.” see http://www.wildcondor.com/dr-horowitz-on-babesiosis.html
Treating Babesia can also be tricky. With Babesia you won’t be looking for a herx but an improvement in symptoms. For me it was the drenching sweats which completely disappeared after three months of treatment with Mepron. (Unfortunately treatment with Mepron in chronic cases usually requires longer – up to six months – to completely eradicate the infection. Additionally there can be resistance to Mepron and so each individual case needs to be treated uniquely.)
A note on treating Babesia from Dr. J. Schaller’s article in The Townsend Letter. He says, “The more treatment given the patient, the more likely you are to get a positive direct – or indirect – Babesia test. Physicians are trained not to treat without good evidence of a positive diagnosis. Unfortunately, that means using routine local labs that will almost always miss the Babesia. However, once the physician cancer patient in our HES study was exposed to two strong Babesia medication options and the semi-synthetic herb artesunate (good-luck getting it) – not the weaker artemisinin – his Babesia antibody test converted from negative to positive, and some other indirect chemical markers of the presence of Babesia changed as Babesia organisms were killed.”
For others, the distinguishing symptoms of both Lyme disease (and co-infections) can, and probably will be something else, but either way it requires careful inspection of the symptoms, both intensity and duration.
There are many more co-infections of Lyme disease that are equally tangled with the top 3. The complications are endless and that is why it is so critical to get an experienced LLMD.