Tick bites and Bell's palsy

20 out of 100,000 people get Bell's palsy every year

BOSTON, Mass. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – An adult tick is no bigger than a sesame seed. So you can imagine how small its bite is. That’s why it’s important to do a daily skin inventory for tick bites, especially when you’re outside a lot.

Tick, tock. It’s that time of year, tick season. And along with ticks comes the threat of Lyme disease.

“This place is great for a walk, but it’s loaded with ticks.” Renee stated.

But, Lyme disease isn’t the only thing you can get from a tick.

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“Believe it or not, a simple tick bite can bring on bell’s palsy. Bell’s palsy is a palsy of the facial nerve which is the nerve that controls the muscles in the face.” Said Kathleen Townes, MD, Internal Medicine/Pediatrics at North Shore Physicians Group.

Rare, but not impossible. Yearly, 20 out of 100,000 people like Karen Stone get Bell’s palsy.

READ MORE: Tick-borne disease suspected in 2-year-old's death

“This started four months ago and I am hoping for a full recovery. Each day I keep looking to see if it gets better, but it doesn’t.” Stone told Ivanhoe.

This one-sided facial droop makes daily routines difficult.

Stone continued “So, it’s kind of embarrassing.”

It’s true; there are a lot of other ways to get Bell’s palsy. But Dr. Townes says a tick may have been the culprit behind Pamela Tomlin’s disorder.

“When I first noticed it, I couldn’t blink my eyes one at a time and I thought I was having a stroke. And, I believe I got mine from a tick, I mean, crazy as it seems I let my dog sleep in my bed.” Tomlin said.

“I would recommend if you have the sudden onset of a facial droop, you contact your doctor immediately to talk about that,” advised Dr. Townes.

Pam was lucky. Her case was mild. She recovered in just three weeks. But, not everyone is that lucky.

“I guess the most frustrating thing for me is just not knowing, not knowing if it is gonna get better.” Stone shared.

So, take precautions. Cover up, wear long sleeves and socks, use bug repellent, check yourself a lot for ticks, and, let your dog sleep in his or her own bed.


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Contributors to this news report include: Pamela Tomlin, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Steve D’onofrio, Videographer.