This mom's warning about ticks goes viral for a very good reason

What parents need to know about protecting their family from ticks.

This mom's warning about ticks goes viral for a very good reason

An active start to the summer gave way to a terrifying moment for one Mississippi mother whose 5-year-old daughter was suddenly unable to walk and had difficulty talking. The culprit: a tick that had hidden itself in the young girl's hairline.

"After tons of blood work and a CT of the head UMMC has ruled it as tick paralysis," shared the mom, Jessica Griffin, in a now-viral Facebook post. "PLEASE for the love of god check your kids for ticks! It's more common in children than it is adults!"

Thankfully, the young girl made a quick recovery after the tick was removed and she got care. As Dr. Ben Brock, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center explained to a local news station of the case, tick paralysis is a rare condition that requires the tick is attached to the host for at least four days—so removing it immediately upon detection should help avoid it.

"You should use tweezers to try and remove the entire tick and that includes removing the mouthparts," he says. "Squeezing the tick can force its contents into your skin if the mouth parts are still attached."

Tickborne illnesses are on the rise—and awareness is key

Although tick paralysis is uncommon, infections caused by ticks are on the rise: Since 2004, researchers have identified seven new germs that can be transmitted from ticks found in the United States. In May, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this is no small threat, especially as the United States is "not fully prepared" to deal with diseases spread by ticks, mosquitoes and fleas.

"The data show that we're seeing a steady increase and spread of tickborne diseases," says Lyle Petersen, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases for the CDC. "We need to support state and local health agencies responsible for detecting and responding to these diseases and controlling the mosquitoes, ticks and fleas that spread them."

According to the CDC, May to July is peak season for ticks with more people and animals infected at that time than during the rest of the year. Children—especially those with long hair—may be at increased risk because they aren't able to self-identify ticks on their bodies. To mitigate this risk, experts recommend avoiding ideas with high grass, wearing long sleeves or pants when possible and conducting full-body checks on children's skin and hair when they come inside.

Even brief bites can cause problems

Parents should check themselves, too, as adults are also attractive to ticks. When Caitie plucked a pin-sized tick off her leg last summer, she thought little of it. Living in Kansas, she was in the habit of applying bug spray before going outside and had developed a few tricks for dealing with the bad reactions she seemed to have to any kind of bug bite. "I rode horses, I played sports, and I knew what steps to take to decrease the risk of a tickborne illness," she tells Motherly.

It wasn't long before she realized this bite was different: In the coming days, the site where the tick had been became increasingly inflamed—eventually developing a tender red ring around it the same diameter as a can of soda. But worst of all was the fatigue. "I basically felt like I got hit by a train," she says. "I just figured that since I have such bad reactions to other big bites it wasn't anything to worry about. It wasn't until I started getting awful that I thought maybe I should go to the doctor."

Two weeks after the bite and increasingly exhausted, Caitie went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a vague "tickborne illness," which they suspected to be Lyme disease, an infection that officially affects some 30,000 Americans each year. Experts, however, suspect the true number of Americans infected annually with Lyme disease is closer to 300,000, with thousands more experiencing other tickborne illnesses.

Symptoms can present themselves in different ways

Symptoms from tickborne illnesses vary based on the type of infection. The CDC reports it's most common to experience fever, aches and rashes around the site of the bite. For others, including the Griffin family in Mississippi, the symptoms can be even more frightening. Although the symptoms quickly subsided for the young girl, the side-effects of tick infections can be longer lasting for others—ranging from permanent allergies to red meat to years of fatigue and chronic pain.

Even after Caitie began a month-long course of antibiotics, her symptoms from the illness persisted. "When I went to lay down at night, my feet would feel like they were on fire and the only way to relieve it was to wrap ice packs around them," she says. "I struggled a lot with insomnia and fatigue."

Nearly one year out, she says the symptoms have almost completely diminished, which she credits to quickly removing the tick and starting antibiotics as soon as she did. And with tick season back in full-swing, Caitie says she's even more vigilant about wearing long clothing and avoiding overgrown grass—because one tick bite was more than enough.

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These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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