Video of little girl struggling to stand after being paralyzed by tick goes viral

A video of a young girl struggling to stand after being bitten by a tick has gone viral -- and her mom says she's hoping it can spread awareness as the warm summer months draw near.

Amanda Lewis, a mom who lives in eastern Oregon, took to Facebook on May 13 to share a scary video of her 3-year-old daughter, Evelyn, continuously falling over while trying to balance on her own two feet.

Lewis says in her post that her daughter was "acting a little weird last night around bed time," noting that "she didn't want to stand up after her bath to get into her pajamas."

Lewis finally appeased her daughter by agreeing to sleep in bed with her all night, but says the child's health had clearly taken a turn for the worse when they woke up the next morning.

"This morning she was having a hard time standing. She could barely walk, or crawl, and could hardly use her arms," Lewis wrote.

The concerned mom says that she and her husband, Lantz Lewis, recorded a video of their child's strange behavior before taking her to a doctor, just to see if any family members "had any idea what could be going on" with Evelyn.

But after the child's apparent illness became even more severe, she knew it was time to take action.

"We decided to take her into the ER right after we took this video because her symptoms were getting worse, and given Lantz's history with cancer we were quite concerned."

"We got into a room quickly, thank God, and were seen almost right away," Lewis continued. "The doctor talked to us for a minute and said over the past 15 years he had seen about 7 or 8 children her age with identical symptoms and more than likely she had a tick. They looked her over, combed through her hair really well and sure enough found a tick hiding in her hair."

After the tick was found and removed from Evelyn's scalp, she reportedly returned to her normal self within a few hours.

Lewis was informed by physicians that her daughter had been suffering from tick paralysis, a condition that "results from injection of a toxin from tick salivary glands during a blood meal."

The toxin causes symptoms that begin two to seven days after the initial bite, including acute ascending paralysis (which starts in the legs and travels upwards to the arms, chest and neck) which can often be confused with other neurologic disorders or diseases, according to the CDC.

"It can affect dogs also and can be fatal," Lewis warned. "I'm glad we took her in when we did and that it wasn't something worse and that we found it before it got worse."

Lewis says she ultimately hopes her video, which has now been viewed over 19 million times and shared over 598,000 times, can help raise awareness about tick paralysis so that parents can recognize the symptoms more quickly and thus seek medical attention faster.

"The ticks are out like crazy right now in this area so if your children or dogs start acting a little off, check them thoroughly for ticks!" she concluded.

RELATED: How to avoid tick bites:

How to avoid tick bites
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How to avoid tick bites

1. Stay in the middle of the path

When hiking, make sure to stay in the middle of the path. Weeds, grass and trees make it easier for ticks to crawl onto you. Don't venture out to the grass or bushes, where ticks are formidable to be hiding. 

2. Wear long pants and closed toed shoes

Protect your skin. Adding an extra layer makes it more difficult to latch on to you. It's smart to wear pants, long sleeves and hats, especially in the summer.

3. Invest in deer-resistant plants. 

Since ticks feed on and are transported by deer, try looking into deer-resistant plants. French marigolds, rosemary, mint and crape myrtle are just some of the greens deer tend to "overlook". 

See a complete list of the herbs and flowers here

4. Check your dog! 

Dogs can literally bring ticks right to your front door. Prevent ticks by keeping their coats short in the summer. Use your hands to check the fur, stopping if you feel a pea-sized bump. Favorite spots ticks like to hide include the ears, toes and under the tail. 

Dog ticks don't "harbor diseases that sicken people", but you should still be wary. 

5. Yes, repellant can help. 

According to TickenEncounter, spray with DEET does not provide "sufficient" protection. Get spray for your clothes like Permethrin, which instantly kills ticks. 

6. Dry your clothes 

The CDC recommends tumble drying clothes immediately for ten minutes after you've been outside. Ticks can easily "dry out" with high heat, but you should make sure the clothes are completely dry. 

Warning: Ticks can survive the wash. 

7. Tuck your pants into your socks.

This covers the small, easily accessible space in between your pants and ankles. Especially if you are sitting, it makes it easier for ticks to latch on. 

8. Stay in the sun.

Since ticks survive in shady, humid environments, researchers agree that staying in the sun lowers the risk for ticks. According to LiveScience, ticks "can't survive" in places with lower than 80% humidity. 

9. Invest in Permethrin socks

The chemical is successful in protecting against ticks, mosquitoes and other types of bites. estimates that permethrin-treated footwear offered 74 times the protection from bites.

10. Mow your lawn

Cut your grass, clean your yard, get rid of any extra firewood or wood chips. 


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