Tick Horror: The Bug Bite That Caused This Little Girl's Paralysis
Evelyn Lewis' symptoms began suddenly, and without warning.
A 3-year-old girl was left paralyzed after she was bitten by a tick.
Read: Dog Saved Moments Before Being Euthanized When Assistant Finds Paralysis-Causing Tick
Amanda and Lantz Lewis say their daughter, Evelyn, had symptoms that came on suddenly with very little sign of the crisis to come.
“Around bedtime, she was acting cranky,” the mother recalled to Inside Edition.
When Evelyn woke up the next morning, she couldn't use her legs. Her arms also hung uselessly at her side.
They rushed her to the emergency room in La Grande, Ore., and the medical mystery was solved after Dr. John Page examined the little girl’s scalp, where he discovered a tick had burrowed itself.
“It was kind of a 'yahoo' moment when you find that tick,” he said.
Evelyn was diagnosed with tick paralysis. The disease is caused by a tick releasing a neurotoxin into the blood.
“My stomach and my heart dropped," Amanda said. "How was this thing staying on her that we had no idea what was there?"
Incredibly, Evelyn’s condition improved almost immediately.
Tick season goes from spring through early fall. Experts predict it will be the worst in years due to warmer weather.
Doctors recommend that parents run their fingers through their kids' hair to feel for a bump that could actually be a tick.
“Ticks are sometimes more easily felt that seen,” Dr. Page said.
If you do find a tick: grasp it close to its head with tweezers and pull straight out.
Read: Mother Has Arms, Legs Amputated After Tick Bite: 'The Disease Was Crawling Up Her Limbs'
“Avoid all these other nonsense things like trying to smother them with Vaseline or take match sticks and burn them,” Dr. Page said.
When Evelyn plays outside now, her mom uses lots of bug spray to make sure her health scare never happens again.
In America, tick paralysis is usually associated with dog or rocky mountain wood ticks. Lyme disease is transmitted through infected deer ticks.
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