WATCH: Mother Posts Viral Video Of Symptoms Of ‘Tick Paralysis’

May 23, 2017
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The warm weather is approaching which means it’s the time of year parents begin to worry about ticks again – especially if you live near a woody area.

Deer ticks may be infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, which is usually what parents are most afraid of. There is, however, another very scary condition that can be brought on by ticks -Tick paralysis.

Amanda Lewis’ daughter Evelyn “started acting weird” around bedtime. The Mother knew something was wrong. “She didn’t want to stand up after her bath to get into her pajamas. I helped her and got her in bed,” Lewis writes in a Facebook post. “She was a little fussy last night and I ended up sleeping in bed with her all night.”

Evelyn could barely walk by morning. They took this video to send to friends and family to see whether anyone could offer some insight into what was going on. The child was rushed to the ER where the doctor told her that over the last 15 years he’d seen maybe seven or eight children who exhibited the same symptoms Evelyn was presenting, and that it was more than likely she had a tick.

They combed through her hair and found one. “This condition is called tick paralysis. It can affect dogs also and can be fatal,” Lewis writes. “I’m glad we took her in when we did and that it wasn’t something worse and that we found it before it got worse.”

Tick paralysis is not caused by an infectious organism. It is caused by a neurotoxin produced in the tick’s salivary gland. After a prolonged attachment, the engorged tick transmits the toxin to its host. “In humans, tick paralysis is most likely to be seen in children. The symptoms in humans are similar to the clinical signs in dogs. About two thirds of human cases are seen in young females. The tick bites are most often found at the head and there at the transition of hair and neck. The clinical presentation appears as typical ascending flaccid paralysis,” explains the website, Companion Vector Borne Diseases.

The symptoms first present as irritability, fatigue, and restlessness. Then the muscles innervated by facial nerves become weak. If the tick is not removed, the respiratory muscles will fail and the patient will die of respiratory failure.

“Evelyn is doing much better,” Lewis explains in an update to her post. “It took her until the next morning to start acting like herself again. She is now pretty much completely back to her feisty little self. She complains a lot about her head itching but otherwise she’s just fine.“My husband and I are still in shock that this happened to our baby girl and I’m glad we were able to spread some awareness about this. It’s not terribly common for this to happen but it’s good to be aware that if your children or pets start having weakness in their limbs to look for a tick! The doctor told us that the type of tick that was found on her does not typically carry lyme disease (dog tick) but we are keeping a close eye on her anyway.”

With tick season upon us, routinely check your kids when they come in from play.

Make sure your kids wear protective clothing and apply insect repellant containing DEET, especially when playing in grassy or wooded areas where ticks are bound to live.

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