There are not only Lyme and co-infections to consider on your journey to wellness, but also viruses, that many doctors do not test for. It is information that should always be considered, as the more viruses are present, the more your immune system will not be working properly. Viruses are not just for cold and flu season!
Doctors can get a better idea of your pathogen load, giving indications on the best way to treat. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and can also easily mimic Lyme disease symptoms.
Viruses can also lay dormant in your system, and come out in immunocompromised patients and the use of corticosteroids can often reactivate viruses in your body.
Much like Lyme disease and co infections, many symptoms can be the same or overlap one another. Although you cannot gauge another person’s pain, if you are having high levels of pain, beyond that of what you believe is “normal” among other Lymie patients, get yourself to a doctor and get tested. You most likely have a reactivated virus in your body, making symptoms worse.
Some of the overlapping symptoms include : Headaches, brain fog, joint and muscle pain, ear ringing, nerve pain, swollen lymph nodes, cardiac issues (sometimes it is not Babesia that is causing these issues), chronic fatigue, and neurological and psychiatric problems.
Sometimes, people with viruses reactivated in their bodies do not have any additional symptoms from Lyme disease alone, but does not change the fact that your body will not be working at its best until you put those suckers back into dormancy.
Upon doing research, the first question that I had was what is the difference between bacteria and a virus? As we know, Lyme disease is a bacteria. Bacteria is a single celled microorganism. Bacteria can take on many shapes in order to survive (In Lyme terms, think spirochete, biofilm, and cyst forms). A virus on the other hand, is much smaller than bacteria, works by taking over cells and redirecting them to further produce. It can be hard to tell if it is a bacteria or virus causing symptoms such as pneumonia or diarrhea.
Some of the common viruses among Lyme patients include:
Rhinoviruses and Influenza – The common cold and flu. There are many different viruses that can cause a cold, but rhinoviruses are the generalized term for these many viruses. When our immune systems are not working well, you are more susceptible to things like having a cold. I would recommend to practice good hand washing techniques, carry a bottle of hand sanitizer, and in high traffic areas, although you may feel is silly, to wear a surgical face mask. Having Lyme disease, your body will hold onto that cold much longer than those with a healthy immune system.
The HHV’s – It is estimated that nearly 100%, yep, you read it right, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the population by midlife has antibodies to some sort of herpes virus. Now everyone, this does not mean you have an STD. There are many HHV variations, but the most common ones associated with Lyme disease include:
Epstein Barr Virus (EBV or HHV-4) likely infects every individual on our planet at some point in time, but can lie dormant throughout a person’s entire life span.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV or HHV-5) Rarely becomes active unless the immune system is compromised, and often becomes active if one has Lyme disease or any of their co-infections.
HSV-1 is the cause of cold sores. This virus can pop up and take effect when your immune system is “down”.
HHV-6 is extremely widespread and can reactivate very quickly and has the ability to reactivate other viruses as well. 90% of the population is infected by the age of 2. It is found in saliva and is spread this way as well. It is said that people who are positive for HHV-6 are MUCH MORE likely to end up with chronic Lyme disease than those who do not. I guess this isn’t really saying a lot now that I think of it, since the virus is so widespread.
Patients have clinically been shown to be directly linked to neurological problems such as encephalitis and mesal temporal lobe epilepsy, as well as playing a contributing factor in neurodegenerative disease such as Alzhemer’s, Parkinson’s and MS.
HHV-7 is not as common as the some of the other HHV’s, but can cause a variety of issues such as vomiting, fever, diarrhea, low lymphocyte counts, encephilopathy, and drug induced hypersensitivity syndrome.
There are other viruses to be aware of such as Rubella (causes German Measles), Varicella (chicken pox, also an HHV virus), and Parvo (causes Fifth disease).
How can I test for viruses? Blood tests can be done to test for all of these viruses. There are panels for past and present (IgG and IgM) and there are two different beliefs of Lyme literate doctors. Some look at the present only, and do not believe past infections are valid, yet some believe it is a very important factor that there was a past infection. When you are getting your tests done I would ask your doctor their beliefs on this topic.
Igenex bands 30-31 can cross react and show a positive in their Western Blot testing due to viruses, but now they offer a 30-31 confirmation IgG and IgM to validate your positive result for Lyme as they make it highly specific.
What can I do? As I have mentioned above, proper handwashing techniques, hand sanitizer and even surgical masks in high traffic areas can help. I will admit quite a few times I was admitted to the hospital I put on a face mask. People hacking in the ER with god knows what is always a good motivation to do so.
It should be known that ANTIBIOTICS WILL NOT KILL VIRUSES. What you need to treat viruses are anti-virals. These can be over the counter medications or several natural treatments can be used. Sometimes with chronic infections, however, treating viruses is not necessarily effective or necessary.
Some naturals that can be used to help ward off viruses are :Vitamin C, garlic, probiotics, Echinacea, licorice root, St. John’s Wort, olive leaf extract, Reishi mushrooms, and even Samento are some natural products that are good to ward viruses away. Some of these may even be part of your protocols!
Avoiding sugar and treating the Lyme and co-infections are other things you can do to put your viruses back into dormancy.
Viruses are definitely something that every Lymie should consider and they could be hindering your treatment progress. As I always say, I am not a doctor. Do not start any new medications or supplements unless under doctor supervision.
Have a nice day y’all!
thehumansideoflyme.com, en.wikipedia.org, truthaboutlymedisease.com, webmd.com, http://sites.google/site/americanlyme/coinfections/epstein-barr-virus, sheamedical.com/lyme-disease, envita.com, treatlyme.net, healingwell.com, Beyond Lyme Disease by Connie Strasheim Photo cred maxisciences.com