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Tick Paralysis: A Deadly Reason to Take Tick Checks Seriously

When a little girl in West Virginia recently woke up unable to move her legs, her mother immediately rushed her to a hospital. It didn’t take the doctors long to figure out that the paralysis was caused by a tick bite. Her mother, having worked as a veterinary tech, was not unfamiliar with tick paralysis but was still surprised. She had carefully checked her daughter for ticks. Medical resident Stephanie Thomas stated that after letting down the little girls long ponytail and doing a thorough search, they found quite a large tick at her hairline underneath the ponytail, a popular spot for ticks to hide.

What Causes Tick Paralysis?

The CDC tells us that tick paralysis is thought to be caused by a toxin in tick saliva and is rare. The symptoms generally subside within 24 hours of removing the tick. However, if the tick is not removed, the paralysis goes on to affect other functions of the body. As the body loses the functioning ability, respiratory failure can set in and death is even a possibility. Therefore the emphasis on checking for ticks and proper tick removal is very important.

Can We Avoid It?

Last year we reported of tick paralysis in dogs, but we want to make it clear that it can just as easily affect people. Dog ticks and black-legged (deer) ticks can cause paralysis in our area and as we get excited about the approaching spring and rise in temperature we can’t forget about the awakening of the bug population. That will certainly include these little pests.Tick paralysis is a real thing and it can affect our favorite pets and our favorite humans alike. Check your children when they come in from the outdoors, especially if they’ve been in areas of long grass or woods. Ticks like to hide in warm crevices like armpits, the base of the neck, and the head, camouflaged by hair. Talk to your vet about the best topical treatment for your pets.

At Mosquito Squad of Franklin & Framingham, we can help reduce the risk of finding ticks on your children and pets when they are playing at home. Our barrier treatment and tick tube system eliminate 85-90% of ticks on your property. Call us to schedule your first treatment today so when that first warm spring day hits there is no hesitation to run outside and take it all in.