Mom Posts Urgent Warning After a Trip to a Pumpkin Patch Left Her Fighting for Her Life

Rash from tick bite
Jennifer Velasquez/Facebook

Fall family trips to the pumpkin patch or apple picking don't always turn out Instagram-perfect. From annoying crowds and expensive prices to warm temperatures and unpredictable meltdowns, there are some downsides that parents have to deal with and consider. However, after her own nearly fatal experience picking out pumpkins with her family, one mom is warning parents about a serious risk that they often overlook during this time of year. 


Jennifer Velasquez contracted an infectious disease while pumpkin picking with her kids and wants others to realize that ticks are still a threat in the fall months. Although it's been two years since the tick bit her and she started her battle against Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Jennifer recently posted a photo of her leg covered in a distressing rash as a reminder to protect against ticks this season.

"After seeing all the cute pictures of families at the pumpkin patches, this is a reminder for everyone," she wrote on Facebook. "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 ticks!"

Leg rash from tick bite
Jennifer Velasquez/Facebook

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After the California mom developed the tick-borne illness, she was left fighting for her life and is still recovering years later. "I couldn't walk, my whole body was in pain, my hair fell out, and I almost died," she wrote. "I'm still healing from all this. Don't be dumb and wear flip flops like me. CHECK FOR TICKS!"

Jennifer wants to be clear that she isn't trying to discourage parents from partaking in these fun seasonal outings -- she just wants them to be aware that ticks are still a serious risk even after the summer months. "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 it's in the 80s and 90s but better to be safe than sorry," she wrote. "Tick borne illnesses have exploded recently in southern California despite being told we don't have ticks out here."

Mom with tick bite from pumpkin picking
Jennifer Velasquez/Facebook

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tick-borne diseases are on the rise, and in addition to the spring and summer, ticks are also most active in the early fall. "Everyone should take steps to help protect themselves and their loved ones, including pets," the CDC's website says. "While not all ticks carry the same diseases, ticks can be found in every state."

To help protect against tick bites, the CDC recommends:

  • Avoiding areas with high grass or walking off trails
  • Spray skin with bug repellent that has at least 20 percent of DEET, picaridin, or IR3535.
  • Treat clothes and gear after outdoor activities with products that contain permethrin.
  • Check dogs for ticks as they can easily bring them into the home.
  • Do a full-body tick check and then shower as soon as you get home.
  • Put clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes when you come indoors to kill any ticks that might've latched on.
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