The disease is spread to people through a bite from an infected tick. It’s not spread from one person to another. In the U.S., the bacteria is spread by these types of ticks:
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. Common symptoms include:
Around day 3 of the illness, a non-itchy rash may appear on the wrists and ankles. It may then spread to the legs and torso. And then it may spread to the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
The symptoms of RMSF can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment may include antibiotic medicine. Doxycycline is the antibiotic used most often. Your child will need to take the medicine even after the fever goes away. Doxycycline is a medicine that can stain a child’s permanent teeth. In the case of suspected RMSF, it is more important to treat the illness. Talk with your child’s healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all medicines.
Other treatments may include:
Don't give ibuprofen to a child younger than 6 months old, unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Don't give aspirin to children. Aspirin can cause a serious health condition called Reye syndrome.
Once a child has had RMSF, he or she can’t be infected again.
You can help prevent RMSF by protecting your child from tick bites.
Ticks can’t bite through clothing, so dress your child and family in:
Choose light-colored clothing so that ticks can be easily seen. Check your child often for ticks, including:
Run fingers gently over the skin. Run a fine-toothed comb through your child's hair to check for ticks.
Other helpful tips include:
Use insect repellents safely. The two most commonly used against ticks are:
Check your pets for ticks. Talk with your veterinarian about tick prevention medicine.
Call the healthcare provider if your child has:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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