by Maria Rickert Hong, CHHC, AADP
If your child has sudden and continued uncharacteristic behaviors, outbursts and mood swings, you may want to suspect Lyme disease.
If your child has a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, OCD, ODD, Sensory Processing Disorder or mood disorders, you may also want to rule out Lyme.
Many of these disorders have symptoms that are co-morbid with Lyme disease.
Just because you live in an area that’s not “Lyme central” (Connecticut and the northeast United States), don’t think that Lyme disease isn’t possible.
People, pets and ticks travel and carry the disease with them.
The disease can also be spread by other insects such as fleas, mosquitoes, mites and spiders.
Symptoms of Chronic Lyme Disease in Children
Following are common symptoms of chronic Lyme disease in children:
- Sleeping problems
- Abdominal pain
- Impaired concentration
- Poor short-term memory
- Short attention span
- Cognitive problems
- Learning disabilities
- Poor decision making
- Uncharacteristic behavior
- Temper tantrums
- Mood swings
- Joint pain
- Noise sensitivity
- Light sensitivity
- Low muscle tone
- Vision problems
- Increased incidence of ear and throat infections
- Increased incidence of pneumonia
- Developmental delays
Chronic Lyme disease can appear without the classic “bull’s-eye rash” or even a tick bite.
It can even be passed from mother to child.
Lyme disease can also masquerade not only as autism and development delays but also as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and neurological damage.
What Causes Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease isn’t just an infection from the Lyme spirochete bacterium, Borrelia Burgdorferi.
There are also co-infections that typically can occur at the same time: bartonella, babesia and erlichia.
A person can also get one of the co-infections without having any of the other co-infections of Lyme.
But why do some people get Lyme disease while others don’t?
Knowledgeable Lyme disease practitioners often talk about “the terrain”, which is a metaphor for the body and all that’s going on in it.
If a person has gut dysbiosis and toxicity, and thus, a compromised immune system, that person is much more likely to develop Lyme disease after coming in contact with Lyme or its co-infections.
Knowledgeable practitioners typically find that people with Lyme disease also tend to have a heavy viral load that is compromising the immune system.
Titers of the following herpetic viruses are commonly high in people with Lyme disease:
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Varicella-zoster virus
Viruses thrive in bodies with heavy toxic load, thus a person with Lyme disease will want to address not only the Lyme itself, but also the underlying toxicity and viral load.
Testing for Lyme Disease in Children
Lyme disease and its co-infections are difficult to test for, but if you’re testing for Lyme, be sure to also test for co-infections.
One reason for testing difficulty is due to the corkscrew shape of the bacteria, which allows them to burrow in without being easily detected.
Lyme disease is typically diagnosed by an ELISA test, followed by a Western blot test.
However, the ELISA screening test is unreliable because it misses 35% of Lyme cases.
In addition, the Western blot blood test is not always accurate, as it misses 20-30% of Lyme cases.
Because of the lack of sensitivity in common Lyme tests, an IGeneX Lyme test is what more knowledgeable Lyme specialists typically use.
Practitioners of energy medicine, such as homeopaths and naturopaths, may initially screen for Lyme with electro-dermal screening devices such as the ASYRA or ZYTO.
Lyme Disease Treatment
Mainstream, Western medical practitioners will typically prescribe antibiotics for Lyme disease and its co-infections.
However, treatment with antibiotics may require prolonged treatment for years and can ultimately damage the immune system and gastrointestinal system.
Patients who do not wish these long-term complications can seek the care of a knowledgeable naturopath, homeopath or herbalist, such as the ones listed in the Epidemic Answers’ practitioner directory.
These practitioners use herbs, such as those found in the Lee Cowden Lyme protocol, and/or homeopathy to address Lyme disease symptoms.
Ultimately, however, patients may want to address the underlying viral load and toxicity that are allowing these bacterial infections to exist and persist.
Maria Rickert Hong is a former Wall Street sell-side equity research analyst who is now a Certified Holistic Health Counselor. She is the author of the bestselling book, “Almost Autism: Recovering Children from Sensory Processing Disorder, A Reference for Parents and Practitioners.” As a health coach, she helps parents make diet and lifestyle changes to recover their children from symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder, almost autism, autism, PDD-NOS and ADHD. She has recovered her two boys from SPD, asthma and acid reflux and can be reached at www.MariaRickertHong.com Maria is a board member, Media Director and blogger for Epidemic Answers, a 501(c)3 non-profit that lets parents know that recovery is possible and is the sponsoring non-profit of The Documenting Hope Project. Maria is also a board member of Parents as Partners.