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Beware of Bug Bites and Stings

When is medical attention needed? continued...

Symptoms of Lyme disease: Lyme disease, which is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick, can cause fever, headaches, fatigue, and a skin rash that looks like a circular red patch, or "bull's-eye." Left untreated, infection can spread to the joints, heart, and nervous system. It is rarely, if ever, fatal. Patients who are treated with antibiotics in the early stages of the infection usually recover rapidly and completely. Antibiotics commonly used for oral treatment include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil (Ceftin). People with certain illnesses related to the heart or the nervous system require intravenous treatment with drugs such as ceftriaxone or penicillin.

Symptoms of West Nile virus: West Nile virus, which is transmitted by infected mosquitoes, can produce flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, body aches, and skin rash. While most infected individuals have mild disease and recover spontaneously, infection can be serious or even fatal. There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus.

Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever: Initial symptoms may include fever, nausea, vomiting, severe headache, muscle pain, and lack of appetite. The characteristic red, spotted rash of Rocky Mountain spotted fever is usually not seen until the sixth day or later after symptoms begin. But as many as 10 percent to 15 percent of patients may never develop a rash. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is treated with antibiotics.

Signs of infection: It is normal for a bite or sting to result in redness of the affected area and minor swelling. But if a bite or sting becomes infected, a fever may develop or the redness or soreness may worsen. In cases of infection, an antibiotic is the typical treatment.

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