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Have you ever heard of cat-scratch fever? It’s not only a song, but it’s also a disease caused by bacteria known as Bartonella henselae. The illness can be spread from infected cats to people in several different ways including a cat bite, scratch, or exposure to cat fleas. You can also contract cat-scratch disease if infected cat saliva touches an open wound, broken skin, or mucosal surfaces like the mouth, nose, and eyes. If you were around a cat lately and notice these signs, visit a doctor immediately for treatment.

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Bumps or Blisters

This is usually the first symptom of cat-scratch disease. The bumps, also known as papules, or blisters, or pustules, will develop at the site of injury. If a cat scratched you on the arm and you start getting raised spots in the same area then you might have cat-scratch disease. These bumps and blisters might be inflamed or filled with pus, but are generally small in size. They usually appear within 10 days of contact with the infectious bacteria.

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Fatigue

Although this is a common symptom of ailments and illnesses, it is a typical sign of cat-scratch disease, too. It’s okay to feel sleepy every now and then, especially if you were tossing and turning the night before. However, constant tiredness is an underlying sign that something else is wrong. On its own, the cause of fatigue can be hard to pinpoint, but if you were bitten by a cat recently then this symptom is equally important to diagnosing and treating cat-scratch disease. Try some at-home remedies for getting a good night’s sleep and if you are still feeling restless then you should visit your doctor.

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Fever

Not everyone with cat-scratch disease will develop a fever, but it is a common symptom. The normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). Although a fever is technically any body temperature above normal, a serious fever is 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or higher. A fever itself is not harmful; it is actually a sign of the body fighting off an infection. If the fever is uncomfortable, you can treat it with over-the-counter medication.

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Nausea and Vomiting

Whether you feel like you have to throw up, or you actually do it is the main difference between nausea and vomiting. Both are symptoms of cat-scratch disease. Although you will want to control this symptom as much as possible for your own comfort, you will also have to be cautious of dehydration associated with vomiting. Sip on liquids like ginger ale, try at-home remedies, or take some over-the-counter medication to keep this symptom at bay.

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Swollen Lymph Nodes

This condition is medically known as lymphofollicular hyperplasia, but the symptom is not that complicated. Basically, your lymph nodes produce more white blood cells to fight an infection. Because of the presence of additional cells, the lymph node areas swell. These same white blood cells are always working with your immune system to prevent viruses, bacteria, and other germs from entering your bloodstream and causing disease. Lymph nodes are located in various parts of your body and the ones closest to the infection site may become swollen if you have cat-scratch disease.

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Chills

The generalized feeling of coldness can make your shiver and give you a case of the chills. This usually happens when exposed to a cool environment. However, this can be an ongoing feeling associated with a sickness. You may or may not have a fever at the same time, but any illness that can produce a change body temperature can also result in chills. Both a higher and lower core body temperature can cause chills. In this scenario, chills are a symptom of cat-scratch disease.

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Headache

Often associated with nausea, fever, and other symptoms on this list, a headache is a common sign of cat-scratch disease. There are several different types of headaches from tension to cluster, not to mention migraines. Depending on the kind of headache, it may be in one area of the face or skull. Pain can range from sharp to throbbing or intermittent. There are multiple at-home remedies and over-the-counter medications to help treat a headache, but it might be a symptom of an underlying disease.

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Malaise

Have you ever felt run down and a little weak? A lack of well-being is known as malaise. You may experience a generalized feeling of discomfort or sickness. This symptom is linked to practically any health condition including cat-scratch disease. It may be a combination of feeling blah and yucky, but you can’t really put your finger on the problem. Fatigue is often associated with malaise as well as a limited energy. Loss of appetite and weight loss may be results of malaise and, in turn, cat-scratch fever.

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Treatment: Contact Your Doctor

If a cat recently bit you and now have swollen lymph nodes, blisters on your skin, and cannot stop vomiting, you need to contact your doctor. It’s important to diagnose the condition and make sure it is not something more serious. In some cases, people can recover from cat-scratch disease simply by riding out the symptoms over time. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medications or at-home remedies to help treat the symptoms for your level of comfort, but no other medical treatment is necessary.

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Treatment: Antibiotics

Do you have a weakened immune system? If you have HIV/AIDS, cancer, or other immunodeficiency disorders, you may need antibiotics to help kick this illness. After visiting your doctor, he or she might prescribe azithromycin. Other common antibiotics that can help include clarithromycin, ciprofloxacin, or rifampin. Without proper diagnosis and treatment of cat-scratch disease, you might develop other complications such as bone or eye infections.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.