Know the Symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever for Early Detection

Symptoms Rocky

What is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is a tick-borne illness caused by bacteria called Rickettsia rickettsii. It is one of the most common and serious tick-borne diseases in the United States, and is found most commonly in the southeastern and southwestern parts of the country. If left untreated, this infection can lead to life-threatening complications and even death. It is therefore important to be familiar with the symptoms of RMSF and seek medical attention if necessary.

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Signs and Symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

The early signs and symptoms of RMSF may be similar to other illnesses such as the flu and may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

Within 2-14 days after symptoms begin, a rash may appear. The rash may first be noticed on the wrists and ankles, then spreads to the arms, legs, and other areas of the body. The rash appears as red or purple spots that may look like bleeds under the skin.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you have been bitten by a tick and you develop one of the symptoms listed above, please see your doctor immediately. Your doctor will ask questions about your medical history and possibly take a blood sample to diagnose RMSF.

This infection can be treated with antibiotics. It is important to begin treatment as soon as possible, since RMSF can cause serious harm if left untreated.

Prevention of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

The best way to prevent RMSF is to avoid tick bites. When going outdoors, wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts and use insect repellent. After being outdoors, be sure to check for ticks on your clothes and skin and remove them immediately. The most effective way to remove a tick is to use tweezers and grab the tick close to the skin.

It is also important to take precautions when spending time in areas where ticks are prevalent. Avoid walking through tall grass, keep lawns mowed, and create a barrier between your yard and areas where ticks might be.


Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can be a very serious infection if left untreated. It is important to be aware of the symptoms and take the necessary precautions to avoid tick bites. If you experience any of the signs and symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately to begin treatment and prevent further complications.

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