A mother in Georgia is hoping to warn other parents about the dangers of the woods after her son contracted a rare disease from a tick bite.
Danielle McNair dropped off her 5-year-old son, Mason, for a visit with his grandparents last month. According to a report by PEOPLE, they noticed a small tick nestled in his belly-button. They plucked the parasite out and didn't think much more of it, but Mason reportedly began exhibiting some frightening symptoms not long after.
“We noticed that [his belly button] was red and looked infected,” McNair told the outlet. “About six inches in diameter around the entire bite. It just looked really nasty and infected.”
A pediatrician gave Mason a 10-day antibiotic for the bite. However, on the last day of the treatment, he developed a frightening rash. By the next day, he was covered from head to toe in spots of angry red inflammation. McNair provided pictures to PEOPLE, showing what look like splotchy marks on Mason's face, arms, legs and torso.
Unfortunately, doctors did not immediately recognize the rashes, and decided they must have been a reaction to the antibiotics. They advised McNair that the marks would fade within six weeks.
The 27-year-old mom didn't like this plan. She did some reading on her own with the help of family members, ultimately noticing that Mason's symptoms exactly matched those of a rare tick-borne illness called Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a bacterial disease, with symptoms including a fever, headache and the distinct rashes Mason was displaying. McNair brought this to the attention of Mason's doctors, who did some tests and verified that that's what her son had contracted.
Once treatment began in earnest, McNair said it only took three days for Mason's spots to begin clearing up. As a mother of three, she is now extra cautious about letting her children play outside. She also urged other parents to do their own reading and get a second opinion.
“I felt absolutely sick. My heart felt like it stopped, my stomach was in knots! Knowing how serious it is from all of the research I had done, I was terrified and ready for him to start the medication!” she told reporters. “It can lead to death… that’s the scariest thing to ever read when it comes to something your child just got diagnosed with.”
“Parents always need to speak up, no matter what!" she continued. "If a doctor disregards your concern for your child, get a second opinion! Do not stop until you are completely satisfied with the health of your child!”
“This whole process has been such a horribly, scary situation, just extremely exhausting. I am beyond happy to see him healthy again. It’s just really important for parents to be an advocate for their child. Doctors are humans too, and as a parent you need to do your own research so you are informed and aware.”0comments
The Center for Disease Control has seen a marked rise in the cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in the last decade or so, though thankfully with a considerable drop in fatalities.
The disease is mostly localized to the southeast and central areas of the United States.