My journey through Lyme Disease- Healing my body and mind.

What is a Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction?


Ever heard of a Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction? Probably not. Many Late-Stage Lyme patients are very familiar with this term. The theory is an increase in symptoms or onset of new symptoms due to accumulation of toxins (inflammatory chemicals in the body) from the decay of Lyme bacteria during antibiotic use. Dr. Jemsek, a Lyme doctor on the east coast, has a more complete explanation here. After not having one for a while, this morning I had a lovely Herxheimer Reaction. For me, it usually goes like this: I take antibiotics in the morning. About 1 to 2 hours after taking antibiotics, I get an intense wave of symptoms including severe nausea, muscle weakness, slow movement, trembling head, pain and pressure in my spine, brain fog, and overwhelming feeling of needing to lay down and curl up into a ball. Pretty much just feels like a system shut-down. Typically, before or during times when I am having Herxheimer reactions, I get skin lesions along my spine that are really sore and generally leave scars. The theory behind the spine lesions is similar to syphilis, the body is trying to push out toxins through the largest organ it has- the skin. Why they are concentrated along my spine, I have no idea. I am going to take them to be a good thing and instead of being sad about scars, think of them as battle wounds that I received in a battle where I seriously kicked butt!

Thankfully, this type of experience generally doesn’t last long. Typically, I will begin feeling better within a couple of hours and will be right back to my normal self (which these days is feeling pretty darn good). This is, of course, never a fun experience. BUT, the reason that I want to share this with you, besides awareness, is to say that I have found some simple ways to deal with it until it passes. As soon as I start to feel the tell-tale signs, I start a warm epsom salt bath (with lots of epsom salt), drink tons of water with lemon, and do some dry skin brushing before taking my bath. Sometimes I add rose petals to the bath as well (pictured above) for added softness. Okay, I don’t really add rose petals. But, I do soak in the tub for at least 20 minutes while listening to some calm music. Doesn’t that sound nice? It does the trick almost every time! If you don’t ever need to use that protocol for Lyme, you could probably even use it to help get rid of gnarly hangovers. 😉 Not that you would ever need that…..

As always, thanks for the generous donations. Thanks for helping me fight this thing! Much love, Lyndsey