Heartland woman has Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Heartland woman has Rocky Mountain spotted fever
By: Crystal Britt

SIKESTON, Mo. - You've probably noticed already, but ticks are out in full force.

One Heartland woman found out the hard way how serious tick bites can be. She has Rocky Mountain spotted fever. It's a serious illness spread by an infected tick, and can be deadly if it's not treated.
For weeks, Kendra Lewis of Sikeston has been sick in bed. She just found out two days ago what's made her feel so awful.
"It's been quite trying and it gets depressing. I've had a few bouts with depression. I didn't know what was wrong with me," said Lewis. 
For more than six weeks Kendra has spent most of her time in bed or on the couch, usually taking her temperature.  
"I couldn't pinpoint anything. I was kind of achy," she said.
Her doctor tested her for mono. She said it came back negative. As tired as she's been, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome even came to mind.
"I haven't worked a full week in eight weeks. A few days I went in for a couple of hours. I went to sleep with my head on my desk and they said you're going home," said Kendra.
Her doctor recommend she see an infectious disease specialist. Soon after, she found out she has Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
"I did have a rash around my ankles and that was my first sign, but I didn't tell my doctors because I didn't think of that," she said. 
Kendra and her family live in a wooded area.
"Ticks are bad this year," she said.
She said she might have been bitten while planting her flower bed.  She remembered seeing a tick crawling on her. She also said it's possible one of the family pets brought a tick indoors. Either way, she's glad she finally knows what's wrong.  She's now on antibiotics, and is on a constant look out for ticks.
"I want to make sure we spray everybody. I don't let them play in the woods since they've gotten green and that's the fun part of living out here, but we just didn't think about the dangers of ticks," Lewis said. 
Kendra's doctor told her she should be feeling much better in a couple of weeks.
There are a number of symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever include fever, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and a rash.  Contact your doctor immediately to be tested if you suspect you may have this.