Alec Baldwin on Dealing with Years of Lyme Disease Pain | PEOPLE.com

The 63-year-old actor said he first started dealing with Lyme disease in his forties: “It came like someone snapped their fingers and put a spell on me”

By Julie Mazziotta
June 09, 2021 12:51 PM
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Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin
| Credit: Roy Rochlin/Getty

Living in the Hamptons around plenty of forests and fields, Alec Baldwin said he and his family "live in fear of Lyme" disease.

The 63-year-old star has dealt with Lyme disease for the last 20 years, ever since he was first bit by a tick.

"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 told hosts Sean Hayes and Dr. Priyanka Wali during an appearance on their podcast Hypochondriactor.

Baldwin explained the onset of his symptoms: "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."

The 30 Rock star said he was unable to get out of bed for several days after.

"This thing just attacks me and I wound up laying in my bed for three days sweating through my sheets and just this horrible joint pain and soreness and exhausted. I couldn't even get up for like three days," he said.

And Baldwin said it happened year after year.

"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; and I had it the following August and it just kept coming back."

Baldwin said that he'll get "this inexplicable" joint pain from time to time now, which makes him wonder if he has chronic Lyme disease, but he knows that doctors often won't diagnose people with the condition.

"It's super controversial whether it actually exists," Wali says of chronic Lyme disease. "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. It sounds like a lot of people have gotten mansplained by the medical system about this."

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Because of his experience with the disease, Baldwin said that he and his wife Hilaria Baldwin are extremely cautious about letting their six children play outdoors in the Hamptons, which he calls "tick central."

"When we have a very mild winter out here, the ticks are beyond," he said. "They just come busting out like it's — what's that concert everybody goes to? It's Coachella for ticks out here."

The Beetlejuice star said that Hilaria "is pulling ticks off my kids all year long."

"My wife finds one tick on one of my kids and she's like, 'That's it. Hiking season is over.' She just terminates hiking season."

Baldwin has worked with the Bay Area Lyme Foundation to raise money for research into the disease.

"I want my kids to grow up riding horses and bikes and enjoying themselves every day and not have to spend every day with us going over them with a magnifying glass to make sure they don't have any ticks on their body or their dogs, but that is part of the lifestyle of where I live," he said at a benefit in 2017.