The fall months are upon us, which means it’s time for pumpkin spice lattes and cozy sweaters. It’s also that time of year when we flock to our local pumpkin patch for fall time festivities, like petting zoos and hay rides. However, when one California mother took her children on a “harmless” trip to the pumpkin patch in San Diego, she nearly died, and now, she’s warning others about a little-known danger lurking in the shadows at these holiday hot spots.
Jennifer Velasquez took her family to the pumpkin patch two years ago, and it turned into an experience she will never forget, although not for any of the reasons you’d hope. In fact, she is still dealing with the consequences of her trip to the pumpkin patch today, so after seeing other families posting heartwarming photos on social media of their own trips to the pumpkin patch, she decided to issue a warning.
In the warm California weather, Velasquez never gave a second thought to wearing shorts and sandals on her family day of fun two years ago. Sadly, that decision nearly killed her. Velasquez was bitten by a tick at the pumpkin patch that day, despite the fact that “everybody says” there are no ticks in Southern California. Before long, her legs were covered in a severe rash, and she was fighting for her life. She had contracted Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a tick-borne illness which can be fatal.
Velasquez decided to share her story on Facebook earlier this month as a warning to others, and her sobering tale has since gone viral. “After seeing all the cute pictures of families at the pumpkin patches, this is a reminder for everyone, When you go to these pumpkin patches and petting zoos and all those fun fall activities, wear pants, long socks and shoes! Make sure you check for tics!” she captioned her post.
“This was me 2 years ago after being bit by a tick and contracting Rocky Mountain spotted fever at a pumpkin patch,” Velasquez added, along with a photo of her right leg covered in a severe red rash. “I Couldn’t walk, my whole body was in pain, my hair fell out, and I almost died. I’m still healing from all this. Don’t be dumb and wear flip flops like me. CHECK FOR TICKS!” implored the California mother.
After seeing all the cute pictures of families at the pumpkin patches, this is a reminder for everyone, When you go to…
After her post was shared more than 11,000 times, with some commenting that the public should not be scared to partake in activities like the pumpkin patch, Velasquez added, “No, I’m not saying don’t go to a pumpkin patch. Just be sure to cover up when you go, use repellent, and do a tick check when you get home. To my fellow southern Californians, I know its in the 80s and 90s but better to be safe than sorry. Tick borne illnesses have exploded recently in southern California despite being told we don’t have ticks out here.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention, ticks mostly flock to “grassy” or “wooded areas,” so the pests may be a concern for humans and animals who spend ample time outdoors, taking part in activities like camping, gardening, and hunting. “Treat clothing and gear with products containing permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings,” the CDC suggests.
Many American families visit the pumpkin patch in the fall, so sharing this information could be hugely beneficial in raising awareness when it comes to the hidden dangers at these places which most people do not know about. Please spread the word by sharing Jennifer Velasquez’s story. You never know, you could be saving someone a lot of trouble down the road.