A California woman says she is in remission from chronic Lyme disease after committing to being stung by bees thousands of times over the past two and a half years.
Prezleigh Colburn’s health began to deteriorate drastically at age 16, to the point that she had daily seizures, hallucinations, slurred speech, uncontrollable laughter, and body spasms.
He visited numerous doctors and received various diagnoses from them. It wasn’t until Ms. Colburn visited a naturopathic doctor that she was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that is transmitted to humans through infected ticks.
When typical treatments didn’t work, Mrs. Colburn and her husband, Joshua Colburn, turned to bee venom therapy, or apitherapy, out of desperation and soon began receiving deliveries of 40 bees a week for $15.
The couple now has three hives.
‘You can hear the bees humming (in the box). “It’s very loud,” he told PA Real Life. “It must be really scary for mail handlers to have their mail ringing.”
Ms Colburn has dubbed her bee sting sessions “stings” and often takes videos and photographs of herself to post to her social media followers.
However, despite the 29-year-old’s claims that bee stings have cured her chronic illness, experts warn that while there is evidence that components of bee venom are anti-inflammatory, the stings “could be “extremely dangerous” due to repeated allergic reactions. The bites can cause tissue damage.
Prezleigh Colburn, 29, endured about 30 bee stings a week for two and a half years. She and her husband Joshua, 43, now own three hives.
Ms. Colburn says her symptoms have disappeared and since she stopped therapy in June, they have not returned.
Armed with EpiPens, Colburn, 43, applied the bees along his wife’s spine 10 times a session, three times a week, so that the insects would sting her.
Mrs. Colburn said the experience was “the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life.”
“You take a zipper clamp and you open the (bee box) door very quickly, you put your hand in and you grab the bee by the leg because you don’t want to crush it,” Colburn said.
Two and a half years later, Mrs. Colburn says she no longer experiences any symptoms of Lyme disease.
He began experiencing worrying and rapidly progressing symptoms at age 16.
‘When I got to college, I was dealing with some really terrible physical symptoms… I started developing tremors and severe pain in my legs and joints, like my fingers were curling and… I was throwing up every day, and I had a lot of gastrointestinal problems,” he said.
‘I had trouble speaking and swallowing. That was the scariest (symptom). That was really strange. It felt like when you are between being awake and asleep.
“I went through a period of time where I couldn’t stop laughing, which you might think isn’t that bad, but it’s pretty awkward having a serious conversation and I can’t stop laughing to the point of crying.” -laugh.’
Her debilitating symptoms forced her to move back in with her parents and her mental health deteriorated.
“When I was really in the thick of it, I just didn’t want to be here anymore,” he said.
Doctors first diagnosed her with fibromyalgia, a chronic illness that causes pain and tenderness, difficulty sleeping, and memory and mood problems, which Ms. Colburn “wasn’t willing to accept… because it just doesn’t make sense.”
Armed with EpiPens, Colburn applied the bees to sting his wife along her spine 10 times per session, three times a week, which Mrs. Colburn said was “the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life.” .
Mrs Colburn believes bee venom therapy has saved her life. “I couldn’t really function normally, but now we run several businesses, we have a family together and I’ve really gotten my life back,” she said.
Unwilling to give up and accept the diagnosis she felt didn’t match her symptoms, she visited a naturopathic doctor, a doctor who specializes in natural remedies to treat illnesses, in 2019, who suggested testing for Lyme disease. through a company called iGenex. which is focused on the research and development of diagnostic tests for tick-borne diseases.
‘When he came back, he was positive with two strains of Lyme disease. That was it. He just made a lot of sense. There was a great sense of relief to be seen,” she said.
However, the typical treatment of Lyme disease with intravenous therapy took its toll on Mrs. Colburn’s liver and kidneys, and the antibiotics she needed became difficult to obtain when the Covid pandemic hit.
“This was really scary because, at the time, my doctor was very worried that if it wasn’t Lyme disease that was going to take my life, it would be the treatment and my white blood cell count and Covid,” she said. .
In 2020, he met a local merchant who told him his Lyme disease went into remission after trying bee venom therapy. Once Ms. Colburn began therapy, she began to experience “moments of normality.”
How do I remove a tick?
Ticks should be removed using a tick removal tool or a pair of very fine-tipped tweezers, making sure to remove all parts of the tick.
A tick remover should be an essential part of any first aid kit.
There is no minimum time that a tick must remain attached to transmit an infection. However, it is advisable to remove it as soon as possible.
Never remove a tick with your fingers, tweezers, or any other inappropriate tool.
It is also very important not to suffocate the tick with oil, Vaseline or any other substance to try to remove it.
This can stress the tick and cause it to respond by regurgitating its stomach contents into the host’s bloodstream.
How to stay safe
- Carry an effective tick repellent when traveling outdoors and a tick removal tool.
- Outerwear treated with permethrin should also be considered for high-risk activities and occupations.
- Avoid walking in tall grass and stay on trails whenever possible.
- Wear light-colored clothing, as this will make it easier to spot and remove ticks.
- Wear long sleeves and tuck pants into socks.
- Shower and perform a thorough tick check on yourself, your children, and your pets when you get home.
- Remember that ticks can be as small as poppy seeds, so it is essential to check them carefully. Pay special attention to the hairline and behind the ears of young children.
- Talk to your veterinarian about tick prevention products for pets and check them daily for ticks.
Source: Lyme Disease UK
“After we made it, probably the first year was when I felt like I leveled up,” he said.
“I started to feel less overwhelmed by all my symptoms and started to feel a little clearer.”
The couple stopped bee venom therapy in June because Mrs. Colburn was no longer experiencing symptoms.
She said: “I couldn’t really function normally, but now we run several businesses, we have a family together and I’ve really got my life back.”
Bee venom therapy dates back thousands of years; However, there is no strong evidence to suggest that it relieves the symptoms of chronic Lyme disease.
Dr Crystal Wyllie, a UK general practitioner, said: “While there are some well-documented benefits of bee venom components as an anti-inflammatory, bee sting therapy could potentially be extremely dangerous as it can cause reactions. severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. in people with allergies to bee venom.
‘Repeated bites can cause localized tissue damage and increase the risk of infection.
‘Finally, I would strongly recommend avoiding bee venom therapy (during) pregnancy, as high doses of bee venom can increase the release of a chemical called histamine, which can cause the uterus to contract and potentially cause miscarriages. or premature birth. ‘
Lyme disease is Transmitted by black-legged ticks that carry the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi or, more rarely, Borrelia mayonii.
Ticks carrying this bacteria live in most U.S. states, but are most common in the Upper Midwest, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). .
It is the most common vector-borne disease (a disease caused by blood-feeding organisms such as ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas) in the US.
A study published earlier this year in the journal BMJ Global Health It found that 14 percent of the world’s population could have been infected with the disease.
Every year 35,000 cases are reported in the United States. However, the CDC estimates that the true number could be closer to 476,000.
A target-shaped rash, also known as erythema migrans (EM) rash, at the site of the tick bite is a hallmark sign of the disease.
As it expands, the mark can reach up to 12 inches or more. It is rarely itchy or painful, but may feel warm to the touch.
This rash can last anywhere from three to 30 days and occurs in 70 to 80 percent of Lyme disease patients.
Other early symptoms include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, joint stiffness, muscle aches and swollen lymph nodes, according to the Mayo Clinic.
If the condition progresses, it can cause rashes all over the body, pain or stiffness in the neck, muscle weakness, irregular heartbeat, pain or numbness in the hands or feet, swelling of the eye or eyelid tissues, and loss of vision. vision.
About one in 10 people with this condition develop Lyme arthritis, which occurs when the disease enters the connective tissue of the joints, causing arthritis-like symptoms, including swelling of the joints that are warm to the touch.
TO recent survey of more than 3,000 chronic Lyme patients found that patients have a worse quality of life than those with other chronic diseases, including congestive heart failure, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
Additionally, more than 70 percent of patients with chronic Lyme disease reported being in fair or poor health.