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- Preparing For Your Appointment
Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be difficult to diagnose because the early signs and symptoms are similar to those caused by many other diseases.Laboratory tests can check a blood sample, rash specimen or the tick itself for evidence of the organism that causes the infection. Because early treatment with antibiotics is so important, doctors don't wait for these test results before starting treatment if Rocky Mountain fever is strongly suspected.
People who develop Rocky Mountain spotted fever are much more likely to avoid complications if treated within five days of developing symptoms. That's why your doctor will probably have you begin antibiotic therapy before receiving conclusive test results.Doxycycline (Monodox, Vibramycin, others) is the most effective treatment for Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but it's not a good choice if you're pregnant. In that case, your doctor may prescribe chloramphenicol as an alternative.
You'll likely start by seeing your family doctor. In some cases, you might be referred to a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases.
When treated with doxycycline, fever generally subsides within 24–48 hours.Severely ill patients may require longer periods of treatment before fever will resolve, especially if they have experienced damage to organ systems.Resistance to doxycycline or relapses in symptoms after the completion of the recommended course has not been documented.Doxycycline is the drug of choice recommended by both CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases to treat suspected rickettsial disease in children.Use of antibiotics other than doxycycline increases the risk of severe illness and death.Doxycycline should be used whenever possible.In cases of severe doxycycline allergy, rapid desensitization procedures in an inpatient setting may be considered. Physicians should carefully weigh the benefits of doxycycline use and the risks o...Chloramphenicol is the only alternative drug used to treat RMSF; however, epidemiologic studies suggest that RMSF patients treated with chloramphenicol are at higher risk for death than people who...The use of sulfa-containing drugs may worsen clinical course and increase the likelihood of death from RMSF.Post-tick bite antibiotic prophylaxis is not recommended to prevent RMSF.People who were bitten by a tick should be advised to watch for signs and symptoms and see their healthcare provider if fever, rash, or other symptoms develop within two weeks of tick bite.Treatment for asymptomatic individuals is not currently recommended.
- Treatment Duration
- Treating Children and Pregnant Women
- Other Treatments
- Antibiotics as Prophylaxis
Oct 26, 2018 · RMSF can be life-threatening. Early treatment with the antibiotic doxycycline can prevent death and severe illness. Doxycycline is the recommended antibiotic treatment for RMSF in adults and children of all ages. Page last reviewed: October 26, 2018.
Apr 28, 2017 · Rocky Mountain spotted fever can cause long-term health problems and death, especially in severe cases or if a patient does not commence doxycycline treatment soon after the first signs of illness....
- What Is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?
- Signs and Symptoms
- Causes and Risk Factors
- Conventional Treatment
- 6 Natural Ways to Manage Symptoms
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a dangerous infection that occurs when you are bitten by a tick or exposed to material from a crushed tick. The tick carries a certain type of bacteria (Rickettsia rickettsii) that moves through a person’s skin into their bloodstream. The infection can be fatal without early treatment. Although it was first identified in the Rocky Mountain states, most cases are now found in the southeastern United States. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is also found in Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America. (2) People die without treatment — early treatment is a must. You must see a doctor as soon as you can to get the medication you need. See the Precautions section below to learn about the right way to pull off a tick. If you can, kill the tick safely (see the section on Prevention) and bring it with you to the doctor. (3) Three types of ticks carry the Rickettsia rickettsii bacteria, which cause the disease: 1. American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis)...
See a doctor any time you feel sick or get a rash after a tick bite, or if you start to have the symptoms below and think you may have had a tick bite. Many of the symptoms for the disease are shared with other diseases. To find out if you have Rocky Mountain spotted fever, your doctor can order a blood test. It is important to start treatment right away, however, since test results can take weeks to complete. (6) Most deaths occur in the first eight days of illness. Don’t wait for test results — get the medication you need. If you have symptoms, ignore a negative early test result and get treatment. The test can sometimes be wrong early in the disease course. (7) If you don’t begin receiving treatment within the first five days after symptoms appear, you may need intravenous (IV, or through a needle in your arm) antibiotics in the hospital. For severe symptoms, you may have to stay in the hospital for care and monitoring. Rocky Mountain spotted fever symptoms may appear soon after...
People almost always get Rocky Mountain spotted fever from: 1. A tick bite 2. A tick they have crushed or handled, which is less common Removing a tick from a person or a dog and crushing it with bare hands is a risk. Don’t handle a tick with your bare hands or fingers. (12) Use a tissue or latex gloves whenever possible. Location is a also factor in your risk. (1) Disease cases occur throughout the United States but are most commonly reported from: (13, 14) 1. North Carolina 2. Tennessee 3. Missouri 4. Arkansas 5. Oklahoma 6. Alabama 7. Delaware 8. Illinois 9. Kentucky 10. Mississippi 11. Nebraska 12. Virginia 13. Note: In Arizona, the brown dog tick bite causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Cases mainly occur in areas where dogs run loose. Other risk factors include: (2, 14) 1. Spending time in grassy, high brush or wooded areas 2. The time of year — spring and early summer are more likely times to get a tick bite 3. Having a dog or spending time with dogs 4. Being male 5. Being N...
The only effective treatment for the grave illness of Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a course of an antibiotic. An antibiotic drug called doxycycline is the most common choice for treating the disease. If you are pregnant, your doctor may recommend that you take chloramphenicol instead. Regular antibiotics used for the infection are not effective for Rocky Mountain spotted fever during pregnancy. The disease can be especially difficult to diagnose if you are pregnant and have symptoms like vomiting or muscular aches, however. (15) These antibiotics are the safest and most effective ways to treat Rocky Mountain spotted fever. It’s important to start the medicine as soon as possible, preferably in the first five days after symptoms start.
Several natural remedies exist to help you manage the symptoms you might have during Rocky Mountain spotted fever. As always, check with a health care professional before beginning any natural therapies, as herbs, supplements and other remedies can interact with medications and impact symptoms (in both good and bad ways).
- What Is It?
- Expected Duration
- When to Call A Professional
- Further Information
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a severe illness caused by tiny bacteria called Rickettsia rickettsii, which are transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. In the eastern United States and in California, the infected tick is usually Dermacentor variabilis, the American dog tick. In most of the western United States, the tick is more likely to be Dermacentor andersoni, the Rocky Mountain wood tick. Humans typically become infected in the spring and early summer. Once someone is bitten b...
Typically, symptoms begin 2 to 14 days after a tick bite, with an average of 1 week. During the first 3 days of symptoms, an infected person usually has a fever of more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit and a severe headache. Muscle aches, nausea and vomiting are common. Between the 3rd and 5th day of fever, most people develop a rash, which usually begins on the wrists and ankles, then spreads to the arms, legs and trunk. In about two-thirds of patients, the rash also involves the palms of the han...
The classic features that may lead your doctor to suspect Rocky Mountain spotted fever are high fever, rash, headache, and a history of tick exposure, such as walking in a tick-infested area, within 14 days of developing the symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Only about 60% of patients recall being bitten by a tick. The early symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever are not specific, and diagnostic tests often are negative early in the disease. Therefore, if your doctor suspects that y...
Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever begin 2 to 14 days after a bite by an infected tick. Most cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever respond to appropriate antibiotic treatment within a week. Once symptoms develop, a person can die within 2 weeks without proper treatment.
Because there is no vaccine against Rocky Mountain spotted fever, the most effective way to prevent the illness is to avoid walking in wooded areas or fields where ticks are found. If you must walk in tick-infested areas, follow these precautions: 1. Wear light-colored clothing, which allows you to promptly identify a clinging tick. 2. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants that are snug around the wrists and ankles. 3. While you are outdoors, check yourself for ticks every two hours. 4. Use an a...
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is treated with one of the tetracycline drugs, usually doxycycline (sold as a generic), in adults and children over age 9. In general, tetracyclines should not be prescribed for pregnant women and children under the age of 9 because these antibiotics can permanently stain the teeth. However, doxycycline is the best available antibiotic to treat this potentially life threatening infection and is preferred if Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the likely diagnosis, des...
Call your doctor immediately if you develop fever, headaches and nausea, with or without a rash, after you have been bitten by a tick. Even if you don't remember being bitten, call your doctor if you develop these symptoms and you have walked recently in tick-infested areas.
Before effective antibiotics were available, 20% to 25% of people with Rocky Mountain spotted fever died. Now, however, only about 5% of patients die from this illness. Older patients have a slightly higher risk of death than younger ones, and males have a higher risk than females.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.Medical Disclaimer
Treatment may include antibiotics (usually doxycycline) until several days after the fever goes away. Efforts to relieve symptom also helps. What are the complications of Rocky Mountain spotted fever? RMSF can be cured when treated with antibiotics.
- Risk Factors
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a bacterial infection transmitted by a tick. Without prompt treatment, Rocky Mountain spotted fever can cause serious damage to internal organs, such as your kidneys and heart.Although it was first identified in the Rocky Mountains, Rocky Mountain spotted fever is most commonly found in the southeastern part of the United States. It also occurs in parts of Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America.Early signs and symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever...
Although many people become ill within the first week after infection, signs and symptoms may not appear for up to 14 days. Initial signs and symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever often are nonspecific and can mimic those of other illnesses: 1. High fever 2. Chills 3. Severe headache 4. Muscle aches 5. Nausea and vomiting 6. Confusion or other neurological changes
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by infection with the organism Rickettsia rickettsii. Ticks carrying R. rickettsii are the most common source of infection.If an infected tick attaches itself to your skin and feeds on your blood for six to 10 hours, you may pick up the infection. But you may never see the tick on you.Rocky Mountain spotted fever primarily occurs when ticks are most active and during warm weather when people tend to spend more time outdoors. Rocky Mountain spotted fever...
Factors that may increase your risk of contracting Rocky Mountain spotted fever include: 1. Living in an area where the disease is common 2. The time of year — infections are more common in the spring and early summer 3. How much time you spend in grassy or wooded areas 4. Whether you have a dog or spend time with dogsIf an infected tick attaches to your skin, you can contract Rocky Mountain spotted fever when you remove it, as fluid from the tick can enter your body through an opening such a...
Rocky Mountain spotted fever damages the lining of your smallest blood vessels, causing the vessels to leak or form clots. This may cause: 1. Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). In addition to severe headaches, Rocky Mountain spotted fever can cause inflammation of the brain, which can cause confusion, seizures and delirium. 2. Inflammation of the heart or lungs. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can cause inflammation in areas of the heart and lungs. This can lead to heart failure or lung f...
You can decrease your chances of contracting Rocky Mountain spotted fever by taking some simple precautions: 1. Wear long pants and sleeves. When walking in wooded or grassy areas, wear shoes, long pants tucked into socks and long-sleeved shirts. Try to stick to trails and avoid walking through low bushes and long grass. 2. Use insect repellents. Products containing DEET (Off! Deep Woods, Repel) often repel ticks. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label. Clothing that has permethrin i...