The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit encourages you to enjoy the benefits of being outdoors; but remember to be tick smart. The wet weather in July has likely meant that more tick nymphs have survived the summer heat. In the fall, the adult females will also be looking to lay their eggs and they need to have a blood meal to do that. While not all Black legged ticks in our area carry bacteria that cause Lyme disease, a significant number do, and you cannot tell if a tick is positive by looking at it.
Taking the following precautions will help to reduce your risk:
- Dress in light coloured clothing so you can see that a tick is on you, (they are dark in colour).
- Use an insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin. You can apply this to clothing or your skin.
- Put your outdoor clothes in a hot dryer for several minutes to kill ticks.
- Do a tick check when you return inside. If possible have someone check you from behind.
- Thoroughly check your body for ticks and nymphs and promptly remove and dispose of them.
- You can take a quick shower to help remove any unattached ticks.
The risk of transmission of the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease from the tick depends on the length of time the infected tick is attached. Ticks that are removed quickly and have been attached for less than 24 hours are less likely to transfer the bacteria. However, if the tick has been attached for longer than 24 hours and is engorged it is recommended that you consult your health care provider.
Check any ticks you remove from your body to determine if they are flat or engorged. An engorged tick is an indication that it has been feeding for a longer period of time. Tick specimens are not used for diagnosis of disease so they are no longer accepted at the Health Unit.
Lyme disease symptoms may include a bull’s eye rash around the bite area, or headache, fever and muscle/joint pain. Symptoms can appear from 3 days to several weeks following a tick bite. Consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
For more information about ticks and Lyme disease: Visit our Insect Bites and Diseases section of our website or call 1-800-660-5853. You can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with LGLHealthunit on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.