Alec Baldwin Opens Up About Struggles With Lyme Disease
Alec Baldwin recently opened up about his struggle with Lyme disease and lingering symptoms. Baldwin first publically addressed his experience with Lyme disease in a 2011 interview.
The star talked about the anxiety he feels each summer, after contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite 20 years ago.
“I think twice that I had it, I got bit twice and I probably had it four times over five years where it came back at the exact same time,” Baldwin said on the Hypochondriactor podcast. The actor said that every time he was bitten, he experienced cold sweats, joint pain, soreness and exhaustion. He was also bedridden for weeks.
The podcast, hosted by Sean Hayes and Priyanka Wali, M.D., mixes medical stories with humor as they discuss conditions with celebrities like Baldwin, Jimmy Kimmel, Kristin Bell and more.
“August of one summer I was standing on my friend’s porch at night, and it was a cool evening – it wasn’t a hot steamy evening – and I felt literally this wave go over my back and over my shoulders and kind of wrap around me like a chill, and I got just attacked. It came like someone snapped their fingers and put a spell on me,” Baldwin added.
The actor stated that the symptoms would return each summer. “I had the same thing each August,” he said. “I got bit, and then I had it again the following August, and I got bit again. I had it the following August and it just kept coming back.”
Baldwin says that he still feels “inexplicable” joint pain and believes he suffers from chronic Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is spread through an infected black-legged tick bite that usually manifests in a target-like rash. According to the CDC, an infected person could experience flu-like symptoms, including fatigue, fever, headaches and body aches. A blood test may be necessary to confirm the suspected diagnosis.
In the majority of cases, the illness’s symptoms will clear after several weeks. However, 10-20% of people may suffer from post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS), where symptoms can linger or resurface.
Chronic Lyme disease is different from PTLDS and many doctors are uncertain whether it’s a real condition. “It’s super controversial whether it actually exists,” Wali said. “This is the most common tick-borne disease in the United States. There’s close to 300,000 people that get this every year and then many of those do not recover. This is a real phenomenon that’s occurring.”
Still, Baldwin actively works with the Bay Area Lyme Foundation to raise money for more research in the hopes of finding a cure.