Mom Shares Daughter’s Story After the 5-Year-Old Was Nearly Temporarily Paralyzed by Two Ticks

A Cincinnati mother wants other parents to be aware of the health scare her 5-year-old daughter had to endure so that other children don’t suffer the same fate.

As Fox 19 reports, Sami Mell took her daughter to see a doctor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital when her daughter’s health began to decline.

As Mell’s daughter, Averey, explained to Fox 19 just before she was rushed to the hospital, “I fell face-first into the bathroom.” Mell added:

“She couldn’t feed herself, she got to the point where she couldn’t breathe on her own. They were prepared for her lungs not to work on her own.”

However, according to Fox 19, doctors were initially baffled by Averey’s condition until she was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit. It was there that it was discovered that the 5-year-old had two Dogwood Ticks hiding on her person. One was on the nape of her neck, and the other was behind her ear.

Each of them were about the size of a quarter, Mell said.

According to the specialists who diagnosed Averey with “tick paralysis,” they’ve never seen anything like it before. They believe that Averey would have stopped breathing if the ticks hadn’t been found when they were.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “tick paralysis is a rare disease thought to be caused by a toxin in tick saliva”:

The symptoms include acute, ascending, flaccid paralysis that is often confused with other neurologic disorders or diseases (e.g., Guillain-Barré syndrome or botulism). Within 24 hours of removing the tick, the paralysis typically subsides.

And that’s exactly what happened with Averey. Mell told Fox 19 that her daughter began acting herself almost immediately after the ticks were removed from her head and ear:

“It’s just pulling off the ticks, that’s the treatment.”

Now, Mell wants her daughter’s harrowing story to be a reminder to other parents and adults. She said people should always check themselves and their children after they had been playing outside, especially near wooded areas.

The CDC says that if a tick has been found attached to your skin, don’t panic, “the key is to remove the tick as soon as possible. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers work very well.”

Just grab the tick with the tweezers as close to the skin’s surface as possible, then “pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick” to avoid breaking arachnid. After removing the tick, clean the area thoroughly. And never crush the removed tick with your fingers. Always “dispose of it by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.”