Just because ticks are tiny doesn’t mean that they are harmless. We may not spot them easily out in the open but these tiny parasites can put your life in danger. Ticks are very small arachnids and they are usually 3 to 5 mm long. They are part of the order Parasitiformes along with mites and they constitute the subclass Acari. Ticks are ectoparasites or external parasites. They are living by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even humans.
When Stephanie woke up one day, she went to their toddler’s room and noticed that something’s not right. Her son, Collin, is a very energetic boy and he is always excited to start his day. By that time, he should already be jumping around in his room or playing outside in their yard. However, this day was different. Collin was just lying in his bed, staring at her. She called her husband, Dillon right away.
Stephanie and Dillon learned that their son had become paralyzed, overnight. They were in shock after witnessing their son’s struggles to stand up and walk. The parents decided to bring him to the emergency room first rather than wild-guessing. They thought that his condition was caused by him accidentally hitting his head before his brother’s baseball game, thinking that he had a concussion. However, Collin didn’t show any signs of a concussion. After that incident, he was still able to talk very well and he did not feel sick at all.
Several tests were made and Collin’s condition worsened. Dillon was heartbroken to see his son struggle. He said, “The only thing he could do is breathe.” Collin cannot even move a muscle! He was also struggling to eat and drink. The doctors did not stop running tests on him because they know that they are racing against the clock. His oxygen levels started to drop so his parents decided to transfer him to a bigger hospital.
Every second mattered, Stephanie and Dillon know that Collin needs the best doctors and the medical tools needed to determine what caused his condition. As soon as Collin was transferred, his parents were shocked when the doctors told them that if they had been half an hour late, Collin would have gone into cardiac arrest and his small body would not have been able to handle it.
After a short while, the doctors finally revealed what caused Collins paralysis; a tiny little tick behind Collin’s ear!
This tick has been slowly killing the poor boy. Everyone including his parents, missed it. The tick was removed immediately and it didn’t take long for him to be back to his old self again. According to the ER doctor, Dr. Travis Stork, tick bites are very common but paralysis is a very rare condition caused by the tick’s saliva. The doctor explained that a neurotoxin hangs out in the tick’s salivary glands. This means that while the tick is feeding, that neurotoxin got into Collin’s blood and that led to an ascending paralysis, which initially started with his legs.
Collin’s condition should serve as a lesson for parents to be vigilant of their children’s conditions. Always make sure that they are safe from parasites like ticks before you let them out of your site. Ticks are tricky and they can get to you anytime.