What is a Lyme literate doctor?

A Lyme literate doctor is a physician who has undergone extensive training specifically for recognizing and treating Lyme disease in its chronic and acute forms. One institution which offers this type of training is ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society).

What is a Lyme literate doctor?

When it comes to treating Lyme disease there are two schools of thought: IDSA (Infectious Diseases Society of America) and ILADS. 

ILADS believes that chronic Lyme is a real, evidence-based disease, and can present with a variety of seemingly unrelated symptoms. They are interested in educating doctors and the general public about Lyme disease and its coinfections. Functional doctors align with the philosophy of ILADS protocols for Lyme disease.

The IDSA philosophy on Lyme disease aligns with conventional medicine. IDSA does not view chronic Lyme as a legitimate, diagnosable long term condition. Their Lyme protocol outlines treatment for early Lyme only. 

Lyme literate doctors acknowledge the vast symptoms of Lyme disease

Lyme literate doctors and traditional doctors treat Lyme disease very differently. Both prescribe antibiotics, but Lyme literate doctors prescribe a longer dose of 20 days. IDSA guidelines recommend a single dose following a tick bite. ILADS doctors assess whether the patient has recovered after 20 days of antibiotic treatment. If a full recovery has not occurred, then the patient will need further monitoring, testing, and treatment in order to prevent conversion to chronic Lyme disease. 


Lyme literate doctors incorporate herbs and other medications into their treatment methods, especially if a coinfection (another infection alongside Lyme) is present. They also acknowledge the relationship between Lyme disease and other preexisting conditions, tailoring their treatment approach to suit individual patient needs and tolerability.


Lyme disease specialists acknowledge that their patients’ symptoms are legitimate and may be connected to chronic Lyme disease. In traditional medicine, symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and mood changes are often dismissed as stress-induced. Because Lyme disease specialists validate their patients’ symptoms and confirm the diagnosis with appropriate testing, they are able to start the treatment process much sooner. Early intervention is critical because it prevents tick-borne bacteria from multiplying and spreading infection throughout the body further worsening the condition. 


They treat Lyme disease holistically

Lyme literate physicians approach their patients with a holistic understanding of their health and lifestyle. In their Lyme disease screenings, Lyme literate physicians ask patients if they partake in any activities which make them at greater risk for contracting Lyme such as gardening, hiking, and travelling to remote areas where there are other types of ticks. They also consider whether the patient lives in a Lyme epicenter such as upstate New York or Connecticut. As with conventional doctors, their screening process involves ruling out any other possible conditions. 

Lyme literate doctors know how to manage each patient’s immune system throughout the treatment. They monitor the immune system to see that it responds properly to treatment protocols. Depending on the patient’s needs, they can prescribe customized pharmaceutical and herbal treatments. In this way Lyme disease specialists help patients to adjust to medical interventions at their own pace. This approach to chronic Lyme treatment is only possible with a Lyme literate doctor.

You can find a Lyme literate doctor through ILADS, Global Lyme Alliance, or LymeDisease.org

Located in Minnesota or Wisconsin? Book an appointment with our Lyme doctor today.

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