What is tick fever?

Sometimes known as Colorado tick fever or Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tick fever is a condition that includes symptoms similar to those of a cold or flu. The ailment is mostly confined to the Western Hemisphere and can be spread by any type of tick. In the United States, tick fever is often caused by contact with a dog tick or deer tick.

The symptoms of tick fever are much like those experienced before and during a severe cold. A high temperature is the most common symptom, usually accompanied by a severe headache and a sensation of pain that shoots through the muscles of the body. It is not unusual for a person suffering from tick fever to also develop chills and night sweats during the course of the illness. At some point, there is an excellent chance that a moderate to severe rash will also develop.

People who spend a lot of time in tick-infested areas, such as forests, are much more likely to get tick fever. To help minimize the chance of coming into contact with ticks, it's a good idea to cover as much of your body as possible when hunting or spending time in nature. For a tick to attach to the skin, direct contact is necessary. Protective clothing makes that level of contact impossible.

Even when wearing protective clothing, it's a good idea to inspect the body after a day in the woods. In addition to looking for ticks, be aware of areas that appear to have received a small bite. This will usually have the appearance of a small puncture that is raised and slightly discolored compared to the rest of the skin.

Just before bathing or showering, visually inspect exposed areas of the body, such as the hands, wrists, neck, and face. Also pay close attention to areas of the body that might have experienced momentary exposure, such as areas of the leg that might have been exposed if the pant leg were raised above the top of the boot at any point. As a final step, inspect areas of the body where the chance of exposure was highly unlikely.

Seeking medical treatment quickly is important. One of the results of tick fever is that the condition can cause inflammation of the blood vessels, which in turn can increase the risk of circulation problems and blood clots. Fortunately, antibiotics are often very helpful in the early stages, both in terms of minimizing the severity of outward symptoms and preventing any permanent damage.

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