Ehrlichiosis is defined as a bacterial infection that infects both animals and humans. This condition is acquired after being bit by a tick. Take note that the infection does not spread from one individual to another.
What are the indications?
The sign of ehrlichiosis tends to vary. Generally, the signs might arise within several days to 3 weeks after a tick bite. The individual might not recall being bit by a tick.
In most instances, the symptoms are mild, flu or cold-like symptoms such as:
- Muscle pain
- Fever and chills
Oftentimes, other symptoms might manifest such as:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Joint pain
Unlike with the other types of infections spread by ticks, the infection does not typically trigger a rash.
Management of ehrlichiosis
Ehrlichiosis is generally managed with antibiotics, usually for 7-10 days. In case the symptoms are serious, the individual requires hospitalization.
If not treated, the signs of ehrlichiosis might last for up to 2 months. Once antibiotics are started, the individual will start to feel better in a few days.
In rare occasions, especially if treatment was delayed, the infection might become severe and dangerous which results to serious complications such as seizures, brain infection or even heart failure.
Since ehrlichiosis is spread by ticks, the ideal way to avoid acquiring the condition is to avoid being bit by ticks. If an individual has been bitten, the tick must be removed right away.
- Be careful when travelling to areas infested by ticks.
- Use long-sleeved shirts tucked into the pants or long pants that are tucked into the socks and boots if possible. It is recommended to stick with light-colored clothes to make it easier to spot any ticks before it reaches the skin.
- Utilize tick repellants on any exposed skin and clothing.
- Household pets must be treated for fleas and ticks and check pets thoroughly if they have been outdoors.
- If a tick is discovered, it should be removed using tweezers by holding the tick as close to the skin as possible and gently tug it straight away until it releases its hold. After removal, thoroughly wash hands and the bite site and dab on an antiseptic.