(WEHT)- The weather is getting warmer, schools are letting out for the summer, and people are looking to enjoy their summers but health officials say some people could be left feeling ticked off this summer after a wet and cool spring provided ideal conditions for ticks. Now, one Tri-State family is trying to spread awareness of the dangers ticks can pose.
But it’s not just Lyme Disease. Last summer, Nora Mayes went to summer camp like so many other children her age and didn’t think anything was wrong until she went on a family vacation to Florida. Mayes, 8, noticed a bump on her head and felt even more “grumpy” than usual.
Her mom, Laura, says she got concerned when she saw the “suspicious” bump and took her to an urgent care clinic, who told her it was just an infected follicle. As symptoms worsened, Mayes says the clinic still downplayed the possibility of a tickborne illness.
Then, Nora’s condition worsened. Laura recalls hallucinations, encephalitis and fluid in Nora’s lungs. Eventually, Nora was transported to a children’s hospital in Orlando, where Laura learned her hunch was right. Nora was diagnosed with Ehrlichiosis and a blood disorder known as HLH, both stemming from a tick bite she received in Indiana.
While Nora says she only remembers waking up in the hospital after weeks in the pediatric ICU, Laura says she’ll never forget the experience. Mayes credits the medical team that recognized Nora’s condition and got her on the right track. Mayes says knowledge is “paramount.” Ehrlichiosis symptoms initially present with aches, fevers, and fatigue but can worsen if left untreated.
Luckily, the condition is not contagious from person to person and can be treated with antibiotics, but people experiencing symptoms should contact a health provider quickly- before those symptoms worsen.
Mayes says she started treating her family’s clothes with Permethrin- an odorless spray that kills, not deters, ticks on contact. Officials say the best way to remove ticks is with a pair of tweezers.