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If you've ever hung around a hair salon long enough to end up with irritated eyes and a bit of a cough, you probably already know that hydrogen peroxide infusions aren't a good idea. Still, there are people who say it can cure chronic Lyme Disease.

Alternative medicine can sometimes prove to be a life-saver and life-improver, particularly for people who do not have access to modern medicine. It also, however, has a dark and dangerous underbelly in which you'll find people willing to sell you just about anything with the instruction to put it on or in your body. 

The effects of Lyme Disease can be devastating, and there's a whole army of people who think they are battling the signs of chronic Lyme Disease. If you're one of them and you're absolutely desperate for answers and cures, you may just be tempted to try intravenous infusions of hydrogen peroxide. 

Spoiler alert: it isn't safe. 

A Note About Chronic Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is a tick-borne bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi. If you think that anyone who is diagnosed — by a medical doctor or any alternative practitioner — with chronic Lyme Disease will necessarily display evidence of the presence of this bacterium, you'd possess a good dose of common sense. You would also be wrong. The working definition of chronic Lyme Disease proposed by the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society is, for instance:

"...persistent symptomatologies including fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, headaches, sleep disturbance and other neurologic features, such as demyelinating disease, peripheral neuropathy and sometimes motor neuron disease, neuropsychiatric presentations, cardiac presentations (including electrical conduction delays and dilated cardiomyopathy), and musculoskeletal problems." [1]

Because the term "chronic Lyme Disease" is applied, by various individuals and organizations, to a wide variety of people...

  • some of whom might have untreated Lyme Disease
  • others of which may have post-treatment Lyme Disease syndrome
  • and yet others who simply have some or all of the symptoms above caused by other things in the complete absence of a Lyme diagnosis practically has no meaning at all. We're still using it here, because people in all these situations may seek out dangerous alternative therapies for chronic Lyme Disease. Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn against them [2], these so-called remedies may seem like a great idea if you're desperate for a cure. 

Dangerous Alternative Therapies For Chronic Lyme Disease You Should Stay Away From

Experiments with long-term courses of antibiotics have been conducted on people with post-treatment Lyme Disease and found ineffective [2], and even, in some cases, deadly [3]. Stranger unproven alternative therapies for so-called chronic Lyme Disease have been and are still being marketed, however. The authors of one study used the same medium you'll likely use as a suspected chronic Lyme Disease patient — the internet — to find out what's out there, and the "treatments" they found include those that fall into the following broad categories [4]:

  1. Energy and radiation: UV light, photon therapy, saunas, and other related therapies. 
  2. Chelation: Colloidal silver, Bismuth, removing amalgam fillings, mercury chelation, and related therapies. 
  3. Nutritional supplements including garlic, fish oil, turmeric, and numerous others.
  4. Pharmacological and "biological" therapies advocated by some include some medications meant for entirely different purposes, as well as "lovely things" like drinking your own urine and voluntarily being stung by bees. Oh, did we mention drinking bleach? No thanks. 

A fifth category is oxygen-based therapies for chronic Lyme Disease, which can involve hyperbaric oxygen, ozone, and hydrogen peroxide. The fact that hyperbaric oxygen has actually indeed been found to hold some promise [5] may lead you to think that this whole category deserves a closer look. Is the intravenous administration of hydrogen peroxide actually a good idea?

Why Would You Want To Put Hydrogen Peroxide Into Your Veins?

Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent used, among other things, as a topical anti-infective for wounds and as a bleach. It's used in the process of food preservative in some food products and has not been found to be carcinogenic, but it can still really irritate your eyes, cause respiratory symptoms, and give you bad skin rashes if you are in close contact with it. If ingested, you can expect things like vomiting, foaming at the mouth, and pulmonary aspiration, as well as burns in the digestive tract. [6]

Intravenously, it can have catastrophic results. Also claimed, by some, to be a cure for cancer and AIDS, people have died from hydrogen peroxide poisoning after its intravenous administration [7]. It's no wonder, then, that the Infectious Diseases Society of America put hydrogen peroxide on a list of "treatments" that should never be used to treat Lyme Disease [8]!

If you are seeing an actual medical doctor who is fine with administering this so-called treatment, run. Intravenous hydrogen peroxide — no matter how pure and low-strength it's claimed to be — is not a legitimate treatment for Lyme Disease, chronic or otherwise. 

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