With the weather warming up much earlier this year, it also means we're seeing an early return of the dreaded tick. Of course the danger with ticks is the disease they can carry.

Donna Stanley from the Northwestern Health Unit talks about ticks and Lyme disease.

"Deer ticks are smaller and a little bit different looking. Both types, deer ticks and wood ticks, can have Lyme disease but only deer ticks can transmit it to humans," she said.

Deer ticks, also know as black-legged ticks, are smaller than wood ticks and are a dark brown colour. They are approximately 3 to 5 mm in length. Wood ticks have white markings on their backs while blacklegged ticks do not. Stanley explains what exactly Lyme disease is.

"It's a bacteria and some people will get it and never have any symptoms and then the opposite extreme is that some people will get it and have chronic severe symptoms in their joints and organs and things like that," she said.

Stanley explains how Lyme disease is spread from tick to human.

"The ticks need to actually get to your skin and attach. They need to burrow their head in and bite. They need to be feeding for a minimum of 24 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease to you," she said.

Knowing that it needs 24 hours to feed means prevention is key. Stanley lists some tips people can use to help keep ticks away.

"Wear boots, high shoes, long pants, long sleeves and stuff like that. Basically just cover up as much as you can from head to toe," she said.

The Northwestern Health Unit is also encouraging anyone who finds a deer tick to submit it to the nearest health unit. They can then send it away for testing. Stanley says this is an accurate way to see how Lyme disease is spreading in northwestern Ontario.

For more information:
Manitoba government - ticks
Tick season on its way