What Are Herxes In Lyme Disease and What Can You Do About Them?
Herxes in Lyme disease can be one of the worst aspects of the disease. Herxes can be described as getting a lot sicker in order to get better.
What is a Herx?
Herx is short for a Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction. It is the inflammatory response in your body that results from Lyme disease bacteria, which are spirochetes, releasing toxins when they die off.
It can generally be considered a good sign that treatment is working. On the other hand, it can be painful and debilitating to the point of agony. In addition, severe Herxes can be dangerous, causing brain and organ damage, so they need to be managed carefully.
Symptoms of a Herx
The most common symptoms are:
* increased fatigue
* joint or muscle pain
* skin rashes
* trouble sleeping
* feeling faint
* swollen glands
* confusion/having a hard time thinking straight
* bad flu-like symptoms
Working with your Lyme doctor
Because Herxes can be so uncomfortable and even dangerous, it is important to work with your doctor to manage your symptoms as you take your antibiotics or try other treatments for your Lyme disease. They can check your blood to see how the Herx is affecting you.
Antibiotics are effective against Lyme, but they carry a range of side effects from Herxes to killing off the healthy bacteria in your gut to the point where you have digestive issues.
Probiotics such as yogurt with live cultures, kefir (fermented goat’s milk), and pickled vegetables like sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi (Korean pickled vegetables) can help.
So too can prebiotics-the ‘food’ for the probiotics so they can work well. Broccoli, cauliflower, kale and spinach are all idea. So too are leeks and onions.
Rife generators, or TENS units, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulators, use radio frequencies to kill off the spirochetes, but the cure can be worse than the disease. The treatment is usually done for a week, followed by a 1-month gap until the next set of treatments, if needed. The spirochete die-off is significant, but so too is the Herx that results. However, people have reported being cured or not suffering from Lyme symptoms for a significant time after the TENS treatment.
It may not sound like much of a vacation, but taking off work for a week to focus on the TENS treatment and deal with the Herx can make a huge difference to your quality of life in the long run.
It is tough to live your daily life when you are in the middle of a Herx, so load up your house with groceries and pack the freezer with some heat and eat meals. Don’t’ forget the probiotics and prebiotics.
Two other important items on your shopping list should be Alka Seltzer Gold, and lemon juice. Both of these seem to soothe the inflammation from the Herx and lots of fresh water with either one of them in it will flush the toxins out of the body.
An anti-inflammatory diet eliminates meat, salt, and sugar from the diet. You should also avoid any convenience foods and cook for yourself. Fruit can curb your sweet tooth and also give you lots of liquid.
Exercise can kill off even more spirochetes because they can’t cope with a high body temperature. It can be difficult to get out of bed some days because your bones feel like they are on fire and your head aches so much you can barely think straight, but a walk around the block, aerobics, cycling/spinning or swimming can all help. Swimming in a warm pool in particular can be very soothing when you are going through a Herx.
A warm soak in the tub
If you have a bathtub, make the most of it with a long soak to help relieve the pain of a Herx.
Herxes can be both a blessing and a curse. Know what to expect and you should be able to manage your Herxes well.