Tick season is here2 min readReading Time: < 1 minute
Did you know that an infected blacklegged tick needs to be attached to its host for at least 24 hours to transmit Lyme disease? These bloodsucking ectoparasites need a blood meal at each stage of their development to survive. To reduce the risk of Lyme disease, it’s a good idea to take steps to avoid tick bites in the first place, and remove ticks right away if you are bitten.
If you’re heading outdoors for a hike in the woods, plan to stay on the trail if you’re in a forested or grassy area. Wear light-coloured clothing so it’s easier to see ticks on your body. Wear closed footwear, and forego fashion, tuck your pants into your socks. Use an insect repellant containing DEET or Icaridin on clothes and exposed skin, following the instructions on the container.
Shower after being outdoors and look for ticks on your body, especially in the groin, armpits, scalp, and behind the ears and knees. If you have a dog that spends time outside, check your pet for ticks daily as dogs can get Lyme disease too.
If you find a tick, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. Do not squeeze the tick as this could cause the bacteria to enter your body. Pull the tick straight out firmly and gently. Thoroughly clean the bite site with soap and water.
Public Health monitors etick.ca and follows up on cases of Lyme disease in humans in Waterloo Region to identify potential areas for further investigation.
If you’ve been infected, you may experience these symptoms: skin rash, fever and chills, headache, and muscle and joint pain. Contact your medical provider.
For more information about ticks and Lyme disease, visit: Insect and Animal Diseases – Region of Waterloo