Family Urges Others To Take Tickborne Illnesses, Symptoms Seriously
TULSA, Oklahoma - A Broken Arrow family wants everyone to check regularly for ticks. A precious toddler is recovering after a bite led to a potentially deadly tickborne illness.
With antibiotics in her system, and after a night's stay in the hospital, Kaylie Mears is doing much better.
But Wednesday night when her temperature spiked dramatically and quickly, the two and a half year old wasn't well at all.
"When they took her in, it was 103.8, and by the time they got there it was 107," mother Veronica Vitek said.
Kaylie's grandparents rushed her to the hospital. Turns out she had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
"[She was] burning up,” great grandmother Judy Mack said. “You could feel it through the sheets when they had to wrap her to get medicine down her. You could feel it through the sheets."
Family members say it was a very scary situation. Kaylie got IVs, spent the night in the hospital and will have to be on antibiotics for weeks.
"She's a strong little girl,” Vitek said. “She's a fighter."
Mack said it was a scary situation: “It was fear. It was agony. It was unreal."
Symptoms of the illness are things like fever, muscle pain and headaches.
It can be fatal if not treated early.
"Very thankful because they caught it in time," Vitek said.
Patients who are treated early may recover quickly on outpatient medication, while those who experience a more severe course may require antibiotics through an IV, prolonged hospitalization or even intensive care.
Last year, 368 cases of the tickborne disease were reported among Oklahoma residents, including 42 that required hospitalization.
"It only takes one tick, one bite and one tick,” Mack said.
Kaylie's family urges everyone to check for ticks often. And if there are any signs of symptoms, get to a doctor fast.
"Do not hesitate to take them. This is serious,” Mack said.
Typically the incubation period for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is one to two weeks after a tick bite.
But in Kaylie's case, it was a little longer than that.
Be diligent in checking for ticks and watching for symptoms.