Can a tick really paralyze a person?

Maricruz Casares
Junio 13, 2018

A mom in MS said she got the scare of her life last week when her young daughter temporarily lost the ability to walk after getting bit by a tick. "She has been such a champ throughout this whole ordeal!", wrote Griffin. When she brushed Kailyn's hair, she saw it: a tick had latched on to the girl's scalp.

In happy news Kailyn was able to walk out of hospital after receiving treatment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight tick paralysis as a rare disease caused by a toxin in the saliva of ticks, particularly the Rocky Mountain wood tick and the American dog tick, typically found in the Rocky Mountain states and the northeast US, respectively.

However, as she spent more time with her daughter, Griffin discovered some disturbing signs.

Griffin said her daughter woke up unable to walk or speak.

"We certainly think that climatic conditions are more permissive for ticks to move into a different area", said Lindsay.

Paralysis begins in the legs, then spreads to the upper extremities. The condition can become life-threatening if the tick is not removed quickly, with the potential for paralysis to affect respiratory muscles.

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"Once the tick is found and removed, recovery is very rapid", said Robbin Lindsay, a Public Health Agency of Canada research scientist who specializes in ticks. It was unclear what type of tick bit her daughter.

Which ticks can cause paralysis?

Preventing this disease is the same as any other tick-borne illness: don't get bitten, and remove any attached ticks promptly. Maybe Kailyn was having a hard time waking up Wednesday morning, or perhaps her legs were asleep.

To protect yourself from tick bites, stay on the trail, wear light-coloured clothing and wear an insect repellant containing DEET or icaridin.

"I went to brush her hair to put it in a ponytail and noticed she could barely talk and when I pulled her hair back that's when I seen the tick", she added.

You should also perform a thorough "tick check" when you get home: carefully check your skin for ticks.

After this incident, Jessica Griffin warned other parents about the danger and urged them to check their children for ticks. PLEASE for the love of god check your kids for ticks!

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