Dealing with Herxes
// Filed in: Lyme Disease Symptoms
Herxing occurs when your body reacts to bacterial die-off, usually as a result of taking antibiotics. The herx itself isn't considered dangerous to your health, but it can be extremely unpleasant. Your body is cleansing itself of toxins, a crucial step. The problem is that this cleansing process stirs up symptoms and makes you feel sick. Doesn't seem fair, does it? Frequent or intense herxes can stress you out, and when you're healing from LD you need more stress like you need another hole in your head. However, herxing can help Lyme patients understand what's happening to them, and some folks say that observing their herxes helps them monitor the effectiveness of their therapy.
The naturopath I consulted while in the critical stage of Lyme agreed. He suggested that I use my herxes as a guide or measurement of sorts. When I was on antibiotics, a period of about six months, it was difficult for me to distinguish between a herx and the Lyme disease symptoms themselves. I came to the conclusion, at that time, that it didn't matter which was which. They were both equally devastating, and all I could do was deal with them the best way I knew how. I wasn't at liberty to lower my dosage of abx, because according to my doctor the Lyme bacteria were likely to replicate and get stronger if I did.
Some Lyme patients say they don't herx on certain protocols, such as Steven Buhner's herbal protocol, for example. Conventional antibiotic therapy does seem to cause intense herxing, which some would say is a good sign because it indicates that you're killing the bug. I found that there were several different ways to deal with a dismal, stressful herx that accompanies chronic Lyme.
Here are just a few:
* Number one: Drink more clean water all day long, even if you think you're already drinking a lot of water. That will go a long way toward flushing out the toxins.
* Number two: Have a bowel movement every single day. Get that stuff out of there!
* Another is to drink the juice of a lemon, straight. You can also blend a whole lemon with one or two tablespoons of olive oil, put the mixture into a glass of water or juice, and drink it down.
* Dry brushing is another favorite of mine for ridding your body of toxins. However, you can't use this method if your skin is rashy, because you may make it worse. If you don't have a rash, brush your dry skin gently toward your heart each morning before you shower. This method really helps your lymph system kick into gear, and toxins that have accumulated during the night wash away down the drain.
* Take a spoonful of vegetable oil, such as olive oil, first thing in the morning. This method is as yucky as it sounds, but it works for me. Hold the oil in your mouth and swish it around, but do not swallow it. After a minute, spit it out and rinse your mouth.
* Exercise, if you possibly can. (This also helps with #2 - the bowel movement.) Sitting around is one of the worst things we can do. We have to move the body, and assist the lymph system in its critical job of carrying nutrition to the cells, and carrying the garbage away. Jump on a rebounder for five minutes in the morning, and five at night, if that's all you can manage. It will really help.
* Watch a hilarious movie, or a stand-up comic you like. When you're laughing, your body's immune system kicks into high gear. You'll also find that your whole attitude improves, and you'll sleep better at night.