OHIO COUNTY, WV (WTRF) – Imagine waking up and not being able to move your legs and get out of bed. That was the case for a little girl in West Virginia.
Her mom decided to rush her to EMSTAR where Doctors were able to quickly diagnose the issue, “Her mom actually worked as a veterinary tech and told us that she had seen similar things in animals,” said EMSTAR emergency medical resident, Stephanie Thomas.
Still, the situation was concerning because the mom checked her daughter over and couldn’t find a source of the paralysis, “One of the things that we try to do, is examine our patients very thoroughly and the girl has a nice, pretty long, ponytail,” Thomas said.
With the mother being a vet tech she told the staff at OVMC what she thought could be the cause of the sudden case of immobility in her young daughter. From there, the staff listened to the mom and they were able to quickly find the source, “We actually take the ponytail out and we’re looking through her hair and we find a nice big tick at the base of her ponytail,” Thomas continued.
Tick paralysis is most commonly seen in young girls, and the ticks are found at the transition from hair to the neck. If not caught in time it could lead to respiratory failure and in extreme cases, it can lead to death.
There are ways parents can learn from this story and help to keep their kids safe, “Always checking your kids after you’re walking in long grass, you know, especially in wooded areas and especially in this area, you know, we have so many woods, kids are outside playing. Be sure you’re checking them before they’re getting into the shower or the bath, armpits, groins, all of that,” Thomas said.
Thomas is just in her first year of residency, but already she’s seen a lot, “This is something that we don’t see very often, but again, I’m just a first year and the things that I have seen in just a year are not as shocking anymore, but every day it’s something new,” Thomas said.