On Tuesday morning at 5am, little Natasha woke with a headache.
There was no fever. Nothing, yet to point towards what would come. Within five hours, she was unable to walk.
Her mother, Natalie – a nurse based in the US for 13 years – has taken to Facebook to share her daughter’s swift journey to ill-health so that other parents out there can understand the signs and symptoms of a serious illness.
“By 10:30am she was unable to walk her fever was almost [40C Celsius] and nothing touched it. I rechecked her head [because] she kept complaining and found a quarter size lump on the right side of her head that by 4 pm had become the ugliest looking wound I have ever seen.
At first, mother and daughter were told it was a spider bite. It was treated, they were sent home. However, “within hours”, it looked “even worse, with a white and red ring around it and a fever that was unstoppable.
“She screamed in pain nonstop [because] she was unable to move her head/neck or even walk, she was dizzy, confused and her knees were swollen and painful and I drove her to children’s a mess scared to death [because] I never saw anything like this in 13 years of nursing,” she wrote.
After arriving at the hospital, Natalie noticed two things. Firstly, that everyone was doing everything they could to “figure it out”. But secondly, it left almost every export “scratching their heads”.
“Everyone wanted a picture of the bite [because] it was definitely not something they had seen before and I think between the pics and telling the same story over and over and about 30 physical exams we both were frustrated. She was getting no better at all – in fact worse despite the antibiotic and meds and fluids.”
By 11am, more than 17 hours after that initial headache, the diagnosis came.
“It was not a typical presentation of a bulls eye bite and her symptoms were a little off she has Lymes disease. She got her first does [sic] of cefuroxime late last night and thank god this morning is the first time in days I saw her walk by herself.
“I wanted to share so maybe we could help maybe prevent this from happening to anyone else. Lyme disease is on the rise and the type Natasha has attacked her nervous system. I just ask to please take precautions to prevent ticks with your children and yourself. I never saw a tick on Natasha so even if u don’t see one check their skin for bites and know this is something in our local area and so scary,” she concluded.
Since then, the post has been shared more than 213,000 times and Natalie says “it’s amazing that awareness of this horrific disease is increasing because of Natasha’s experience”.
According to The Lyme Disease Association of Australia, fewer than 50 per cent of people with Lyme Disease develop the “bulls-eye” rash a few days or even a few weeks after their tick bite. According to their most recent data, more than 2,000 people in the country who have confirmed they have the disease.