WHAT IS A HERXHEIMER REACTION AND WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?
Watch any commercial about prescription drugs, and you’ll hear a list of the potential side effects. Some side effects are mild, and some are a little more severe, but all medications sold in the U.S. must pass stringent tests for safety. In this article, we’ll discuss the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, which occurs within 1–2 hours for up to 90% of patients after treating a spirochetal infection with antibiotics, and how Colloidal Silver interacts with this toxic burden.
This toxin overload syndrome has various names, including the Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction (JHR), the Herxheimer Effect (HE), the Herxheimer Response (Herx), Herx, and Herks. The term “Herxheimer Reaction” is the most widely used. Fevers, chills, myalgia, headaches, digestive issues, flushing, and body aches characterize typical reactions.
Many people experience flu-like symptoms for 24 hours to a few days. However, there are exceptions in cases of acute infection, where the reaction might be quite severe. It is common to experience Herx reactions after eliminating disease-causing pathogens from Lyme disease, syphilis, and other spirochetal infections.
WHAT CAUSES THE HERXHEIMER REACTION?
After receiving penicillin for spirochetal illnesses, some patients may experience the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, caused by an overload of toxins in the body because of antibiotics attacking the infection. When we take antibiotics, our bodies often experience “die-off symptoms.”
Die-off occurs in three defined phases:
- Cell Death (caused by the antibiotics)
- Immune Response (the rise of White Blood Cells)
- Detoxification (the body flushing out the Toxins)
In these three phases of die-off, the body triggers an autoimmune response when antibodies detect weak or dying virus cells as a threat. Because of this response, healthy cells and tissues can get damaged, which leads to inflammation.
Although inflammation is a necessary immune reaction in the fight against infection, it can cause discomfort such as aches and pains, skin rashes, joint pain, and headaches. While the internal battle creates discomfort, the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction may indicate that the prescribed treatment is working and eliminating the infection.
The Herxheimer Reaction—Feeling worse before Feeling Better
Herxheimer reactions might be frightening if you don’t know what’s causing them or how to cope with them. Temporary Herx reactive symptoms may occur while your body attends to its Toxic Body Burden, often known as the “cleaning crisis.” Patients must learn to accept a transient increase in pain that comes with Herxheimer reactions while under treatment.
An overabundance of poisonous chemical endotoxins found in bacteria and fungi causes Herxheimer responses. The toxins normally reside in bacteria, but if the bacteria die, the toxins enter the bloodstream. The symptoms can appear suddenly if many “bad” bacteria or yeast die in a short time, leading to a toxic overload.
Experiencing a die-off or Herx response can cause flu-like symptoms. Your immune system is reacting to what it thinks is an illness. Body aches, muscle discomfort, a sore throat, sweating, tiredness, chills, nausea, and other flu-like symptoms are all common side effects. Worsening symptoms may not indicate that the therapy is ineffective; instead, they may tell us the medication is so effective at killing the infection that the body becomes overwhelmed by the number of microbial waste products.
Gut Sensitivity and the Herxheimer Reaction
Unfortunately, we have an epidemic of modern gut disease, which originates from an inflammation, so medications and foods tear tiny holes in the gut’s lining, causing “leaky gut syndrome.” Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, cramping, nausea, and food allergies are all found to occur in mild to severe cases of gut problems.
Medical professionals are increasingly diagnosing this phenomenon and attempting to help patients heal their gastrointestinal tracts. A common misconception is that the gut’s sole function is to break down food. Trillions of “probiotic” organisms are the fulcrums of your immune system in your gastrointestinal tract, small intestines, and large intestine (colon).
These beneficial bacteria keep the “bad guys,” such as viruses, bacteria, molds, yeasts, and mycotoxins, in check. Our detox channels can become clogged or slow over time, leading to chronic stomach discomfort for many people. That’s why it’s so hard for the body to expel these toxins. A lack of effective toxin elimination can exacerbate the symptoms of bacterial, yeast, and parasite die-off.
Antibiotics kill harmful bacteria and can also kill the “good bacteria” in your body. This can lead to an array of chronic, painful illnesses that increase your risk of autoimmune false-positive reactions and suppress your immune system to an extremely low state of activity. If you are currently experiencing autoimmune symptoms, taking strong antibiotics for certain disorders may increase the likelihood of a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction.
The Toxic Body Burden
The weakest areas of your digestive system may get blocked, clogged, and overloaded when yeast overgrowths, malignant cell clusters, parasites, and bacteria starve and die off throughout the detox process. As our system accumulates toxins, we may experience pain, exhaustion, and other unpleasant Herx symptoms.
Our gut is healthy when the microorganisms and bacteria are in proper proportion. These microorganisms aid in the body’s ability to combat harmful viruses and bacteria, create energy from meals, eliminate toxins, and generate serotonin, a substance in the brain that elevates our mood.
The individual Toxic Body Burden might vary from person to person based on the level of exposure to foreign toxins and the efficiency with which the body eliminates these toxins.
Neurotoxins, such as undigested proteins, plaque in your digestive tract and blood vessels, germs in your blood, and so on, are typically the last to leave the body.
What Causes Herxheimer Reactions?
Although antibiotics treat infections, they may cause side effects in certain people. Keep in mind that the worsening of symptoms does not indicate that the treatment is failing.
A Herx response brought on by dying fungal or yeast overgrowth may vary depending on where it first appeared. For instance, yeast death in the colon could trigger a Herx reaction manifesting as stomach pain. Sweating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, or swollen glands are all side effects of eradicating yeast quickly.
The 10 Most Common Herxheimer Reactions
The most prevalent Herxheimer responses are typically associated with illnesses that resemble the flu. Some of these responses may be:
- Rash and itching
- Mood Swings (e.g., anxiety and depression)
- Respiratory phlegm or stuffy nose
- Brain Fog
- Discomfort in the Stomach (nausea, gas, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation)
- Mild temperature
- A sore throat
- Aching muscles and joints
Occasionally, reactions will subside after a day but can linger for a week or more in extreme circumstances. Caffeine withdrawal headaches may occur if you suddenly cease consuming coffee, tea, or caffeinated sodas.
Colloidal Silver & The Herxheimer Reaction
There has been no scientific evidence linking the Herxheimer reaction to colloidal silver. A healthy person will not react to Colloidal Silver because it is non-toxic. However, people battling liver or kidney troubles shouldn’t take colloidal silver because it can worsen their condition and maybe lead to failure in both organs.
Colloidal Silver for Hepatitis may cause die-off symptoms leading to the Herxheimer reaction. In addition, people who inhale silver to treat a lung or sinus infection may feel worse for a few hours to a day before any improvement happens.
Colloidal silver is used to cure various conditions and diseases because of its many purported health benefits, like acne, enlarged prostate, cancer, AIDS, pneumonia, and many others.
The cleansing and healing effects are well worth the reaction, which often subsides after a few days. It’s also a positive indicator that the Colloidal Silver is helping your body return to its original state of health.
Herxheimer Reaction Time Frames
The onset of the reaction typically occurs within 2 hours after treatment, and reaches its peak after 8 hours, then subsides between 24 to 36 hours.
The reaction might range from a few hours to several days up to a week. The degree of inflammation reflects the intensity of the reaction. As with any illness, if the symptoms get worse, or do not get better in a few days, contact your Medical Provider. Lowering the dosage is one option they may offer you.
8 Tips to Deal with a Herxheimer Reaction
To ease the discomfort caused by your toxic overload, here are some ways to ease your symptoms while allowing the healing process to progress.
- Hydrate extensively. Try herbal tea (non-caffeinated), kombucha, lemon water (lemon is a natural detoxifier), and herbal tea (non-caffeinated)
- Maintain healthy elimination (the intestines, lungs, skin, kidneys, and lymph)
- Get Plenty of rest. Try to sleep 9-10 hours and take naps throughout the day.
- Take a hot bath, with or without Epsom salt. The warmth will aid your circulation without exercising.
- Avoid sugar and fried food. They raise inflammation levels.
- Take extra electrolytes. Low electrolytes may cause cramping or prolonged muscle soreness.
- Get a massage. Nothing feels better when you have body aches. Massages will also help drain your lymphatic system.
Final Thoughts about Herxheimer Reactions
What we experience as pain is inflammation leaving the body. In most cases, you will feel better within a few days. The good news is that these responses show the body is engaged in a vital function. The frequent Herxheimer response symptoms, such as a headache or transient lethargy, are good news. They won’t last forever, but they indicate that harmful chemical poisons are exiting your body.
When dealing with these symptoms, use your best judgment and try the tips we’ve listed. See your doctor if your Herxheimer’s symptoms last longer than a few days.