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Tick Bites: Signs of Tick Paralysis

Topic Overview

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:

  • Tingling, numbness, or loss of feeling or movement that starts in your hands or feet.
  • Trouble swallowing or talking.
  • Double vision.
  • Loss of movement in your face.

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 doctor 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
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised July 5, 2013

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