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Ticks love warm winters

Unusually warm winters make it easy for ticks and mosquitoes to survive. Although this is not generally the time you would think about protecting your dog or cat from ticks, these creatures can appear during the winter in surprising locales. If your local climate is warmer than usual for the beginning of January, you might consider treating your pets with a tick repellant. Be sure to check your pet's paws and coat thoroughly, lest she or he bring any of the little hitchhiking critters into the house.

If you allow your pet to sleep on your bed, take extra measures to keep them from introducing any tiny friends. Ticks can be as small as a piece of ground black pepper. They are extremely difficult to detect. It's better to apply tick repellant to your pet to be on the safe side. Check with your local pet supply store or veteranarian for an insecticide that is safe enough for your furry pal.

Lyme disease symptoms: Is herxing necessary?

Lyme disease symptoms are also referred to as Herxheimer reactions or herxing. Would you herx if you discovered you didn't need to? This is a question that Jean Reist, R.N., asks her patients to take to heart. Jean, who has treated hundreds of Lyme sufferers through her PA clinic, Journey to Wellness, has discovered that when Lyme patients tend to proper lymph system drainage they don't experience the stress of a herx. Jean discusses her findings in an audio interview as part of the Interviews with Experts series on the LDRD.

Herxheimer reactions, the healing crisis experienced by Lyme sufferers as a result of a die-off of Lyme bacteria, are a major source of stress for Lyme patients. Simply put, the more effective the medicine in killing the spirochetes, the greater the herx. Killing Lyme bacteria is a curious business. Agonizing pain and the recurrence of symptoms is often used as a measure for the dosage. In general the rule is: If you're herxing to a great degree, back off on the medicine. If you're not herxing at all, you may not be taking a high enough dosage. Each patient will react differently to treatment, and with a wide variety of alternative treatments available, it may take some time and experimentation before you find the right dosage.

Proper lymph drainage can facilitate the healing of Lyme disease and help reduce or even eliminate Lyme disease symptoms altogether. At the first sign of a herx, Reist advises, drink copious amounts of water, exercise, and reach for a detoxifying tonic herb such as Burbur or Parsley. Each organ in the body has a lymph "neck," which is where blockage can occur. Therefore, it's very helpful for the patient to work with a health care practitioner who can help you locate the blockage. The next step is to work on unblocking, which can be achieved in a number of ways, Reist says.

You can hear the entire interview as a member, join now and listen.

Stephen Harrod Buhner's book, "Healing Lyme"

Stephen Harrod Buhner's book Healing Lyme.

I think probably the most difficult thing Lyme patients have to deal with is the lack of understanding in the medical community and how they're treated by the medical community. So many of them are told it's all in their heads. So many of them are misdiagnosed. So many of them are told that after they do a regular course of antibiotics they should be well, and if they aren't, well, then that's their problem, it's something wrong with them, mentally.
- from my interview with Stephen Harrod Buhner, Nov 30 2006

If you're weary of being reduced by the medical-industrial complex and its outdated myths about Lyme infection and treatment, listen to Stephen. Buy his book. It's like a breath of sweet, fresh air.

How totally refreshing to hear his point of view, based on intensive research into Lyme and the spirochete, after so many eyeball-rolling physicians try to diminish their patients' own experience of illness by swatting it away like a fly. Buhner is an expert on indigenous and spiritual traditions, a master herbalist, teacher, and award-winning author of ten books about herbs and sacred plant medicines. Plus, he comes from a long line of healers and he's sublimely articulate about the Lyme infection, the spirochete and what he calls the "Lyme Wars."

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with him about his research and hearing his thoughts on Lyme activists, whom he considers an exceptionally sophisticated population. That's you, baby.

Want to read more? Stephen Harrod Buhner Interview .