The summer season is nearly here and with it - comes tiny little pests like ticks.
Residents are reminded to take the necessary precautions for themselves and pets when spending time outdoors to prevent tick bites and reduce the risk of Lyme disease.
“Now that warmer weather is finally here, we want to ensure Ontarians know how to protect themselves from Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
Lyme disease is a potentially serious infection that comes from being bitten by an infected blacklegged tick. Infected ticks can be found almost anywhere in Ontario, particularly in wooded areas or areas with tall grasses and bushes, including city gardens and parks.
“The areas where ticks can be found are spreading, and as a result, more Ontarians are at a greater risk of getting a tick bite. By taking simple precautions, you can protect yourself and your family so that we can all enjoy the outdoors safely," Elliot adds.
The Northwestern Health Unit says the risk of being bitten by a blacklegged tick largely depends on the activities of the person. A person is more likely to be bitten by a blacklegged tick if they are:
- walking through a wooded or bushy area
- not wearing protective clothing
- not using an appropriate insect repellant.
The risk of being bitten may be higher in Kenora, Rainy River or the areas surrounding these municipalities where black-legged ticks have been repeatedly collected. Some of these ticks tested positive for carrying the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. If bitten, disease transmission can be prevented by removing the tick within 24 hours.
If a black-legged tick was attached for more than 24 hours, AND from Kenora, Rainy River or the areas surrounding these municipalities, consider visiting a health care provider within 72 hours of removing the tick.
When spending time outdoors, you can protect yourself from tick bites by:
- Wearing light-coloured clothing so it’s easier to spot ticks.
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants tucked into your socks, and closed-toed shoes.
- Using an insect repellent with DEET or icaridin in it, which is effective and safe when applied as directed on the label.
- Staying on marked trails.
- Checking yourself, your children, and your pets after being outdoors and removing any ticks promptly, and washing your clothes after an outdoor activity.
Below is an image which shows the difference between wood ticks, and the blacklegged (deer) tick that can carry tick-borne disease.