Protect Yourself Against Lyme Disease, Dengue Fever and Zika
The beginning of summer means the start of vacation season and exciting outdoor adventures for many people. However, we all need to be aware that bites from some insects can turn a dream vacation into a nightmare. Recently, the CDC reported that illness from tick, mosquito and flea bites has more than tripled in the U.S. over the last decade.
Diseases transmitted through the bites of blood-feeding insects are called vector-borne diseases (VBDs). They include Lyme disease, Dengue Fever, West Nile virus, Zika virus and Plague, to name a few, and are rapidly becoming a growing public health problem in the U.S., according to the CDC report.
VBDs account for more than 17 percent of all infectious diseases, resulting in more than 700,000 deaths each year globally, according to the World Health Organization. Symptoms of VBDs may include chills, fever, skin rash, headache, fatigue and flu-like symptoms.
Even after the initial symptoms from the infection abate, it can take up to three months or more to feel normal again. For instance, people with Lyme disease can develop severe arthritic pain, fatigue and/or other symptoms such as cognitive decline that can last for years if left untreated.
Of all the VBDs, tick-borne infections such as Lyme accounted for 75 percent of reported cases between 2004 and 2016, according to CDC statistics. Researchers speculate that the increase in VBDs may be due to climate warming extending both the length of seasons and geographic area—or in other words, when and where insects are active —as well as the rapid movement of goods and people around the world, distributing the eggs of infected mosquitoes far and wide.
How then can you protect yourself and your loved ones against VBDs? What do you do if you or someone you know contracts Lyme disease or another VBD? What are the integrative treatment options that employ Eastern and Western medicine? Here are some prevention and treatment suggestions:
1. Research any area you’re traveling to on the CDC website to assess the risk of VBD outbreaks.
2. Use DEET-free bug repellents containing geranium, lavender and citronella when spending time in nature or visiting hot and humid places known for mosquito infestation.
3. Take B vitamins and garlic capsules, starting at least one week before you leave home and continue taking them while traveling.
4. Take herbs that help support your immune system’s antiviral and antibacterial defenses, herbs such as honeysuckle, forsythia fruit and isatidis root. These and other herbs can be found in the Infinichi “Immunity” formula.
5. Keep your immune system strong before, during and after your travels or spending time in nature by getting plenty of sleep, eating well and exercising regularly, just as you are away from home.
Our practitioners use both conventional and traditional diagnostic tests, including blood, urine, stool and imaging as well as tongue, pulse and physical exams to determine a diagnosis. Treatment options, often include working with patients’ internists and specialists ti integrate Western and Chinese medical protocols. We have successfully in treated VBDs like Lyme disease with a personalized protocol of acupuncture and specific herbal and nutritional regimens to combat the primary infection, as well as co-infections.
Please call our offices and ask to speak to one of our practitioners about diagnosis and treatment if you or someone you know might be infected with a VBD.