By Michael Abeyta

It’s tick season, and the wet spring and summer we’ve experienced in Colorado means an increased chance of finding one on your body or a family member’s (or pet’s) body if you head out into the wilderness.

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(CBS4) – Heidi Ganahl’s daughter Jenna recently went camping near Bailey and when she got home Heidi made an important discovery.

(credit: CBS)

“I was putting her hair in a ponytail and I noticed a couple of ticks,” says Heidi.

Growing up in Colorado, she was used to pulling out ticks, so she dispatched of the parasites and went on with life. Until a few days later when her daughter started feeling ill.

“She had a rash first and I took her in and they said ‘Uh, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” Heidi said.

(credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus)

After a few days of waiting, Jenna didn’t get better.

“A couple days later her foot went to sleep and it was still asleep the next morning and her shin was asleep, too,” Heidi said.

Heidi’s instinct told her she had to do something, so she took Jenna back to the doctor where they discovered she had tick paralysis. The rare disease is caused when a neurotoxin secreted by the tick when it is feeding enters the bloodstream. If left untreated it can be fatal.

Even though Heidi had removed the tick, a small piece of it remained in her daughter. After doctors cleaned out the wound the tick left behind, Jenna got better. And now she wants to remind parents that ticks are out there and if you see one on your pet or child, remove it with tweezers and make sure to follow up with a doctor.

“We just need to be more diligent,” Heidi said.

Michael Abeyta

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