Temperatures are getting hotter every year in the U.S., which means that the populations of pests, like mosquitoes and ticks, are also rising.
According to Scientific American, rates of tick-borne diseases have tripled in 15 years.
No matter how many times health experts urge you to wear long pants and shirts with long sleeves to prevent getting bit, it's practically impossible to follow their advice in these scorching summer months.
And you can't stay cooped up in your home either.
After months of cold weather, we deserve to go out with the family and enjoy the wilderness our beautiful country has to offer.
That being said, it's better to be safe than sorry.
A Mother's Nightmare
Last month, five-year-old Mason McNair was staying at his grandparents's house in LaGrange, Georgia when his grandparents noticed a tick inside his belly button during bath time.
The tick was removed, but it became red and swollen. The doctor gave the young boy antibiotics, but once the medication ran its course, Mason developed a rash, fever, and stomach pain.
“It really just looked like heat rash. We had been outside that weekend, it was really hot,” Danielle McNair, Mason's mother, told Today.
The rash started spreading fast, but their family doctor said it was nothing to worry about, believing that it was a delayed reaction to the antibiotic treatment.
“I wasn’t satisfied with the answer. I started to do my online search. I called my sister, who is a veterinarian,” she said.
The concerned mother had to urge her family doctor to help identify the tick-borne illness she believed her son had. She strongly believed Mason contracted Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, also known as blue disease, is a bacterial disease that's spread through the bite of an infected tick.
Symptoms include a fever, headache, and rash.
Unfortunately, this tick-borne illness is not as well known as Lyme disease, but it's on the rise.
It's apparently the most frequently reported rickettsial (a type of bacteria) illness in the U.S., but many people have not even heard about it.
Keep in mind, just because it's called Rocky Mountain spotted fever, it doesn't mean the disease only resides close to those mountains. The illness has been found as far as Canada and Central America.
People who have Rocky Mountain spotted fever require a specific antibiotic, or else the illness could be life-threatening.
Raising Awareness About This Deadly Disease
McNair shared her story on Facebook to raise awareness about the dangers of this disease.
“If I hadn’t done my own research and continue to push it, we would be in a completely different situation with my son. And that is scary. That is so scary,” she added.
It's good that this young mother pushed to figure out what happened to her son.
In June 2017, a 2-year-old girl died after doctors were unable to diagnose that she had a tick-borne illness.
According to Dr. Paige Armstrong, a medical epidemiologist with the Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children tend to show unusual symptoms.
This may shed light on why this illness gets misdiagnosed so often. For that reason, McNair hopes her story will raise awareness about this deadly disease.
“I want to empower parents to always, always be an advocate for your child. Use your own voice, definitely do your own research. Doctors are humans, too, they’re human, too. That doesn’t mean they know every single thing."
Share this story to raise awareness about Rocky Mountain spotted fever!
Check out these natural ways to keep ticks out of your yard this summer.