Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, the deadliest of the tick borne diseases. I've had Lyme's Disease before so I'm pretty cautious about tick illnesses now but this one was the scariest run-in yet. As with many of the tick sicknesses, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a very evil trickster. It looks like nothing much (fever, rash, generalized aching) and then suddenly it starts doing clever things like attacking your internal organs systematically. The real key with tick borne illnesses is to look carefully for ticks attached to you after you've been outdoors and if you notice any symptoms of illness afterwards (particularly fever) get thee to a doctor and get thee on antibiotics. (So says the CDC in their official guidelines for tick illness.)
Some doctors (ours for instance) are conservative and feel disinclined to treat first, ask questions later and will drag their feet, suggest a wait-and-see plan and tell you it is unlikely you've been infected. While I completely and whole heartedly agree with this plan of action if we're talking about ear infections or the run-of-the mill coughs, tick diseases are different. The stage where they can be cured easily is the stage when they look like nothing much. Once they look serious the patient is often either untreatable or seriously damaged. My personal opinion is, treat....ask questions later. If a doctor tries to get you to have a blood test to prove that what you have is a tick borne disease, go along with it happily but insist that you be treated immediately after the test is administered...not when the results come back. Tick testing takes two weeks or so and waiting that long can be detrimental to health. Don't wait! The treatment is simply an antibiotic, a really kick-butt strong antibiotic but still...that's all it is, nothing crazy or involved.
CDC policy and disease symptoms and even drug details. Without it I'm not sure we'd have our boy alive today.
health department who will often receive and identify ticks and sometimes test them for diseases which can help you determine if you should seek treatment....even when few or no symptoms present themselves (which can happen).
This week, I plan to call a non-toxic tick control company, lay down a little more mulch, double check our bug repellent stock, hug our son, and breath. Just breath.