Is It a Lyme Disease Herx Reaction?

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Is it a lyme disease herx or herxheimer reaction image by Marty Ross MD

Is it a Lyme Herx or Something Else?

In this video recording from Conversations with Marty Ross MD on 7/25/18, I describe how to figure out if a decline in health is due to a Lyme disease Herxheimer (Herx) reaction.

In a Lyme disease Herx, the immune system sees toxins and proteins from dead Lyme germs and responds by making more inflammation chemicals called cytokines. These cytokines are what cause most Lyme symptoms. So in a Lyme disease Herxheimer reaction, most Lyme symptoms will get worse. See Herxheimer Die-Off Reaction: Inflammation Run Amok for more information about cytokines and treatments for Herx reactions

So to have a Herxheimer in a Lyme disease treatment, there has to be increased germ killing. This only occurs when new herbal or prescription antibiotics are added or increased. It can also sometimes happen when the antibiotics get deeper into the tissues. Heating in far infrared saunas or hyperthermic baths can lead to greater killing, and thus a Herx. For more information see Far Infrared Sauna Detox: More Than Sweat.

Marty Ross MD Discusses Lyme Herx Reactions

This video was recorded during Conversations with Marty Ross MD in July, 2018 when Dr. Ross practiced in Seattle, Washington.

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What Else Increases Cytokines in Lyme Disease?

So, if it is not a Herx causing increased cytokines and worsening, then look for other possible cytokine increase triggers. These can include yeast, acute virus infections, bartonella relapse, babesia relapse, or even recent mold exposures. And there is also the possiblity, that your herbal or prescription antibiotics are no longer working. This can increase cytokines as the immune system works to combat the increased number of germs. For more information see Steps to Fix a Lyme Treatment Crash.


The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this article are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, see the sitewide Terms & Conditions.

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About The Author

Marty Ross, MD is a passionate Lyme disease educator and clinical expert. He helps Lyme sufferers and their physicians see what really works based on his review of the science and extensive real-world experience. Dr. Ross is licensed to practice medicine in Washington State (License: MD00033296) where he has treated thousands of Lyme disease patients in his Seattle practice.

Marty Ross, MD is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Family Medicine Residency. He is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The Institute for Functional Medicine, and The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M).

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