Jessica Griffin, the mother, wrote on Facebook, while sharing photos of the rather large tick sealed in a plastic bag, a red bite mark on her daughter's scalp and the young girl laying in a hospital bed. "She has been such a champ throughout this whole ordeal". It's more common in children than it is adults!
Staff at the University Medical Centre of MS discovered a tick embedded in the girl's scalp that had caused her temporary paralysis.
Unlike many other bites, tick bites don't usually hurt or itch at first. Tick paralysis occurs mostly in the spring and early summer, and is reported more commonly in children, probably due to their smaller body mass. Symptoms tend to appear four to seven days after a tick bite and go away within 24 hours of removing the tick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Griffin said her daughter woke up unable to walk or speak.
The grateful mom is hoping this experience will encourage parents to check their children for ticks on every surface and in every crease of their bodies.
Over several days, this can progress to paralysis that starts in the legs and moves upward, said Lindsay. If the tick is not removed, people could face facial and tongue paralysis.
"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.
If someone who has been outdoors in the spring or summer months suddenly becomes weak and appears to be getting worse, tick paralysis could be the cause.
Which ticks can cause paralysis?
Several other diseases are associated with ticks, the most well-known include Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. "She would try to stand and walk but would continue to fall so I thought her legs were just asleep".
To protect yourself from tick bites, stay on the trail, wear light-coloured clothing and wear an insect repellant containing DEET or icaridin.
But human children are also susceptible due to their smaller body mass. Girls get tick paralysis more frequently because the ticks can easily hide in a mass of hair, according to the foundation. "Doing thorough and complete tick checks is the way to prevent this infection", Lindsay said.