Tick Bites: Signs of Tick Paralysis

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Tick Bites: Signs of Tick Paralysis

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The inability to move a part of your body (paralysis) as a result of a tick bite is a rare problem. Tick paralysis can be caused by several different types of ticks in North America. The symptoms of tick paralysis are caused by the venom secreted from the female tick during feeding.

Symptoms usually start 4 to 7 days after a tick attaches to your body. Symptoms of tick paralysis include:

  • Restlessness and irritability.
  • Tingling (paresthesia), numbness, or loss of feeling that starts in one or both of your hands or feet.
  • Paralysis that starts in one of both of your hands or feet.

If the tick bite is on the head, symptoms of tick paralysis may include:

  • Facial paralysis.
  • Double vision.
  • Difficulty swallowing or talking.

Most cases occur in children. When these symptoms develop, contact your health professional immediately to arrange for care. Removing the tick may be all that is needed to stop the release of the venom and control the symptoms.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Martin J. Gabica, MD, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Sean P. Bush, MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine, Envenomation Specialist
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised February 26, 2010

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