Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

I had to go to the doctor on Friday.

On Tuesday of last week, my muscles in my lower legs had begun to ache. On Thursday, I woke up with a rash covering most of my lower legs and arms. By Friday, the rash had spread to upper legs, upper arms, and torso. I was also experiencing severe muscle and joint aches, and chills. The doctor drew labs and started treatment for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

I found a tick crawling on me several weeks ago, but never felt a bite or had one attached that I know of. The problem is, when you work in grassy areas, you are at risk. The disease is caused by dog ticks or wood ticks. See pictures here.

The CDC says, the “tickborne disease caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii”, can be a fatal human illness in North and South America. Symptoms include: fever, rash, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, muscle pain, and lack of appetite.

The fever can be as high as 102 degrees. The rash is usually not seen until the sixth day or later after onset of symptoms. The rash is a sign of progression to severe disease, and according to the CDC, every attempt should be made to begin treatment before the petechial rash develops.

Rash on my leg.

Petechial rash on my leg.

Treatment is the antibiotic, Doxycycline, which I am now taking. The doctor assures me that as long as I am treated with the antibiotic, the disease will go away with no harmful side effects.

I never developed the high fever associated with the disease, but the muscle and joint aches have been pretty bad. The doctor recommended Ibuprofen or Alleve for the muscle aches, but so far this hasn’t helped very much, and I frequently wake up at night due to the pain.  I have had the headaches and nausea, that go along with the disease, and the rash feels like tiny pinpricks.

So… for anyone working in the yard and garden, at this time of year, you need to be extremely careful. Make sure you wear light clothing that covers your arms and legs and check for ticks when you go back inside. If you develop any of the symptoms mentioned, see your doctor immediately.

I hope this post will help someone avoid this disease in the future.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.” Psalm 103:2-3

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