As we head into the summer months, there are two things you've probably heard over and over again: It's going to be a bad year for ticks, and we need to be on the lookout for symptoms of Lyme disease. But there's another horrific side effect of tick bites most of us probably didn't know exists. Mom Amanda Lewis shared a terrifying viral video of her daughter suffering from paralysis caused by a tick bite.
"Evelyn started acting a little weird last night around bed time," the mom's post begins. "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."
Lewis also took this heartbreaking and scary video of her daughter's symptoms, which she shared on Facebook.
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...Posted by Amanda Lewis on Saturday, 13 May 2017
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The mom writes that she and her husband rushed their daughter to the emergency room, where a doctor diagnosed their little girl with tick paralysis:
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.
Luckily, Lewis says they got her daughter to a doctor in time, and the little girl should make a full recovery.
Most of us had probably never heard of tick paralysis until right now (I know I hadn't), but according to the American Lyme Disease Foundation, the potentially deadly condition is caused by over 40 different species of ticks, including five kinds of ticks prevalent throughout North America.
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Tick paralysis is usually caused by ticks found on the head or neck, and symptoms can take two to seven days to show up. Once they do, immediate treatment is a must. Paralysis starts in the lower extremities and moves up the body, and it can eventually cause facial paralysis and respiratory failure -- sometimes in as little as 24–48 hours.
As Lewis notes in her post -- which has been shared over 275,00 times at the time of this writing -- tick paralysis is uncommon enough that some health-care professionals may not have experience with the condition. That's why it's so important to check kids for ticks regularly, including on their scalp and other hard-to-see places you might not think to look.
If you do find a tick, the CDC provides step-by-step instructions on how to properly remove it. Most importantly, it notes, you can prevent tick bites by avoiding high grass and wooded areas, keeping outdoor areas clear of debris, and using an insect repellent that contains at least 20 percent DEET.
As for the Lewis Family, we're just glad their little girl is going to be okay.