The warm weather is arriving, so is the time of year parents begin to worry about ticks again. If you live near a woody area, chances are you are on high alert during the warmer months. Deer ticks can be infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, which is usually what parents are most afraid of. But it turns out there is another, very scary condition that can be brought on by ticks.
When Amanda Lewis’ daughter Evelyn “started acting weird” around bedtime, she knew something was a little off. “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 now viral Facebook post. “She was a little fussy last night and I ended up sleeping in bed with her all night.”
By morning, Evelyn could barely walk. They took this video to send to friends and family to see if anyone could offer some insight into what was going on. Then they headed to the ER.
We had a little bit of a scary morning today…luckily everything is ok but I wanted to share this so the rest of you are aware.Evelyn started acting a little weird last night around bed time. She didn't want to stand up after her bath to get into her pajamas. I helped her and got her in bed. She was a little fussy last night and I ended up sleeping in bed with her all night.This morning she was having a hard time standing. She could barely walk, or crawl, and could hardly use her arms. We took some video this morninh to send to family to see if they had any idea what could be going on. We decided to take her into the ER right after we took this video because her symptoms were getting worse, and given Lantz's history with cancer we were quite concerned.We got into a room quickly, thank God, and were seen almost right away. The doctor talked to us for a minute and said over the past 15 years he had seen about 7 or 8 children her age with identical symptoms and more than likely she had a tick. They looked her over, combed through her hair really well and sure enough found a tick hiding in her hair.This condition is called tick paralysis. It can affect dogs also and can be fatal. 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.The ticks are out like crazy right now in this area so if your children or dogs start acting a little off, check them thoroughly for ticks!I feel awful for not having seen the little bugger sooner but I never would have even thought to look for a tick. It's crazy that a little bug can do this!We're still in the ER. Now that the tick has been removed, Evelyn should start feeling like herself in a couple of hours. She's enjoying popsicles and watching cartoons ☺ They want to monitor her for a little longer then we can go homeCrazy morningUPDATE: I didn't realize how widespread this video would end up! So for those of you who don't know us personally, Evelyn is doing much better. 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."Tick paralysis results from injection of a toxin from tick salivary glands during a blood meal. The toxin causes symptoms within 2–7 days, beginning with weakness in both legs that progresses to paralysis. The paralysis ascends to the trunk, arms, and head within hours and may lead to respiratory failure and death. The disease can present as acute ataxia without muscle weakness"For more information on Tick paralysis:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tick_paralysishttp://www.cvbd.org/en/tick-borne-diseases/tick-paralysis/human-tick-paralysis/I'm so thankful that we got her to the doctor quickly before her symptoms got worse and that the doctor in the ER that day had experience with this otherwise who knows how many tests they would have been doing on her trying to figure out what was wrong!Thank you all for your kind words and support through this crazy time! ♥UPDATE AGAIN:We're located in Eastern Oregon USA. Ticks though can be found all over. They're causing all kinds of problems on the east coast of America right now as well
Posted by Amanda Lewis on Saturday, May 13, 2017
They were seen quickly. The ER doctor told her that over the last 15 years he’d seen maybe seven or eight children who exhibited the symptoms Evelyn was presenting, and more than likely she had a tick. They combed carefully 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.”
Unlike in cases of Lyme disease, tick paralysis is not caused by an infectious organism. The illness 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 site, Companion Vector Borne Diseases.
CVBD explains that the symptoms first present as irritability, fatigue, and restlessness. “During the next 12 to 24 hours the muscles innervated by facial nerves become weak,” the site explains. “Without removal of the tick, finally 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.”
“Evelyn is back to her feisty little self,” Lewis tells Scary Mommy. “The only evidence of her scary incident is a tiny barely visible little scab from the tick bite that I’m sure won’t even be there in a couple more days. She was in the hospital last Saturday for a total of only a couple of hours. The doctor monitored her for a bit after the tick was removed then said she could finish recovering at home. It was a really scary day for us, but we’re just so relieved that the doctor immediately knew what to look for and that our baby girl is healthy and back to normal.”
The lesson? Always trust your gut when it comes to your child. If you know something is off, take them to a doctor or ER immediately, like the Lewis’ did. And with tick season upon us, routinely check your kids when they come in from play.
“We never ever would have imagined that our story would spread the way it has,” Lewis adds.”But maybe because we went through this, other parents and pet owners will know to watch for ticks. I had no idea that this could happen. Lucky for us we got her to the hospital when we did and had the doctor we did.”
Kids Health recommends that parents can help prevent kids from being exposed to ticks by “making sure they wear protective clothing and apply insect repellant containing DEET, especially when playing in grassy or wooded areas where ticks live.”