long-time lurker, first-time poster. i'm having a bit of a dilemma. i'm from london and moved to asheville nc a year ago so i'm still finding my way around a lot of things, not least american healthcare. here's the story. apologies for the upcoming essay.
my 22 month old was bitten by a tick on easter sunday. my husband's uncle, who's an outdoorsy type, spotted it - thank goodness, as i would not have known how on earth to get it off. he identified it as a lone star tick and said it's the only species in nc that carries lyme. cue panic on my part. cut to this past sunday night and my daughter starts to run a fever. 101 on sunday, 102 yesterday, but happy and playing most of the time. i took her to the doctor's today for only the second time in her life as i was worried and wanted reassurance. the doctor agreed it's unusual for a toddler to have a fever without other symptoms. she took blood, which was perfect, and looked at the tick bite, which looks like it has the faintest red line around it/next to it (it's in her hair so hard to see) - looks more like a broken vein than anything else. doc said that she wouldn't be worried about lyme, but is worried about rocky mountain spotted fever, and prescribed doxycycline for a week.
now i am pretty against antibiotics unless totally, totally necessary. the doctor openly told me to expect some pretty intense side effects, and that this type isn't recommended for kids because it's so harsh. she said it's likely to discolor her teeth until her big teeth come in, give her diarrhea and possibly give her mouth thrush. usually i would console myself with the thought of dosing her up to the eyeballs on probiotics immediately afterwards but unfortunately we will be travelling to a big family reunion next week and it won't be possible i don't think - i use the kind of probiotics that need to be kept cold. lots of stress and travel and new people coming up. my husband is firmly in the camp of 'if the doctor says do it, let's do it.' but i don't know. not having grown up here, i don't really know how much of a risk tick-borne things are, and i also don't know how to read between the lines of doctor-speak - is the doctor prescribing this because there's a 0.0001 chance my daughter has a tick lurgy and she doesn't want to be sued, or is it really a sensible precaution to take? also, she brushed off the possibility of lyme, but i went home and googled and up came an article saying that doctors always brush off the possibility of lyme. more googling revealed that the lone star tick isn't even a major carrier of this rocky mountain fever. argh.
meanwhile LO is not doing so well - up to 104 today, although i am really hoping that this fever has broken now.
so i don't know what to do. antibiotics or no. without judgement, with compassion, what would you do?
I am so sorry you are having to deal with this.
I am only speaking from my experience so take what you will.
After many years of poor and worsening health I finally discovered I have late stage lyme disease and unfortunately I passed it along to my son during pregnancy without knowing what I had.
Because I know the pain and misery that untreated Lyme disease AND all of the other co-infections that are difficult to always test for, I would absolutely recommend treating your daughter.
I would however want to go to a doctor who treats tick born diseases in children regularly. I didn't feel comfortable with our regular pediatrition's advise so we drove 14 hours to a pediatric LLMD who deals with this stuff every single day. His advice for us was to do nothing at this time antibiotic wise as he is not showing any symptoms and never has. We just got him tested after I got my diagnosis and realized it could be passed in utero.
He did say that he has great success using some of these drugs in a pulsing type dose which reduces the side effects such as tooth discoleration, etc. Plus, there are other antibiotics he finds to be just as effective that are safe for children so that is why I think a specialist is vital.
I know it is a very difficult thing to navigate and you certainly don't want to cause more harm with a medication, but I am just shocked at how bad this has destroyed my body and how difficult it is to get rid of after so many years being left untreated.
Hopefully you will come to an answer you are comfortable with soon.
I agree with pp. I'm another one with chronic lyme, who passed it on to two of my kids. In this case, I'm for preventive treatment, especially with the fever she's getting.
My son just got a tick bite by a deer tick (Lyme carrier). I don't know if I pulled it off within 24 hours, because it was close to that. The best advice I got is to watch him for first symptoms (rash/fever) and administer antibiotics if there was any sign of it. Nothin' yet....
It sounds like the fever is a symptom. Some people never develop the rash at all.
I am anti antibiotics as well, unless absolutely necessary, but in this case I would go for it in a heartbeat.
Lyme is darn serious stuff. Don't take chances since LO has the first symptom! True, it could be something else, but it is a HUGE risk to not treat.
I hope your LO feels better soon!!!
Writer/Designer/Hip Hippie Russian Mama to T (3yo) and K(4mo)
why is he only offering doxy? There are other options for kids.
I'd say you're not treating prophylactically. Sounds to me as though you're likely treating an actual infection. Though your uncle is misinformed about one one species carrying lyme or RMSF for that matter it sounds like you already know that.
I'd not blow off the risk of lyme. It exists everywhere in the US. How often it's correctly diagnosed is another story altogether.
thank you everyone for your thoughtful answers. thankfully, the fever broke the same night i wrote my message, a rash sprung up the next morning, we ran back to the doc and my daughter is confirmed as having roseola. quite the relief. she's now completely back to normal. thank you again for all the kind responses and i hope that those of you affected by these diseases find healing soon.