A five-year-old girl was left temporarily paralyzed and unable to speak after she was bitten by a tick.
Jessica Griffin said her daughter, Kailyn Kirk, fell out of bed when she woke up for school on Wednesday morning but she just assumed the little girl’s legs were asleep.
However, as Griffin was brushing her daughter’s hair, she noticed that Kailyn’s speech was slurred. That’s she found a tick and a bite on her scalp.
Griffin, from Grenada, Mississippi, rushed her daughter to the emergency room where doctors diagnosed the little girl with tick paralysis, caused by a neurotoxin found in the bug’s saliva.
Doctors reassured Griffin that once the tick was removed, Kailyn’s symptoms would be resolved between 12 and 24 hours – which they were.
Now Griffin is sharing her story in hopes of warning parents to check for ticks because not catching he bugs soon enough could lead to respiratory failure and, in some cases, dea.th.
Tick paralysis occurs when a neurotoxin from the tick’s saliva is transmitted to its host, according to the American Lyme Disease Foundation.
The cause is not entirely understood but it is believed that the toxin blocks nerve function. Symptoms usually linger for between two and seven days.
They generally begin with fatigue, leg numbness and muscle pains. Paralysis quickly develops, starting in the lower extremities and working its way up. If the tick is not removed, tongue and facial paralysis follows.
Once the tick is removed, symptoms resolve anywhere between 12 and 24 hours
The CDC recommends showering within two hours of coming indoors to help wash off unattached ticks and to reduce the risk of contracting diseases such as Lyme disease.
Griffin says there were no signs that anything was wrong with her daughter until she woke her up for school.
‘We came home, took a bath, washed her hair and everything and I never saw the tick.’
However, on Wednesday morning, Kailyn fell as soon as her feet hit the floor and she was unable to stand – but Griffin just assumed her daughter’s legs were asleep.
It wasn’t until Griffin was brushing Kailyn’s hair that she realized her daughter’s inability to walk wasn’t the only symptom she was exhibiting.
‘I went to brush her hair to put it in a ponytail and noticed she could barely talk,’ Griffin told ABC News.
‘When I pulled her hair back, that’s when I saw the tick. I immediately called my husband, who is in Iraq, freaking out over the phone asking what could be going on.
‘He told me that I needed to put the tick in a Ziploc bag and take it with me straight to the ER.’
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