CINCINNATI, Ohio — A 5-year-old girl was hospitalized and even put on a ventilator after contracting what’s known as “tick paralysis.”
TODAY reports Averey Mell earlier this month began having trouble keeping her balance, moving, swallowing and breathing. She was rushed to the hospital.
Her mother, Sami Mell, posted about the incident on Facebook.
She wrote: “We got to ICU I noticed a lump in her hair. It was a tick. I searched her and found another at the back of her head in neckline.”
Mell said the ticks were almost the size of a quarter. Once they were removed, Averey quickly improved. She’s recovered and is back at home, TODAY reports.
TODAY reports that tick paralysis is potentially deadly, and it’s caused by a neurotoxin found in the salivary glands of several species of ticks, including Rocky Mountain wood tick, American dog tick, the Lone Star tick, the Gulf Coast tick and the deer tick.
When the tick feeds on a person’s blood, the poison can enter the bloodstream. If the tick isn’t removed in time, the poison can attack the nervous system. TODAY reports that the condition is rare and most often happens in children.
Treatment is to remove the tick.