As most hikers and dog owners in Niagara know, ticks are an unfortunate reality in our area. Consider using the following tips and products to minimize your risk of contact.
How to avoid:
- Use bug spray with deet as this is the only proven effective bug spray against ticks (that’s approved in Canada)
- Wear long pants and long sleeve shirts
- Tuck pants into socks
- Wear shoes instead of sandals when hiking
- Avoid long grass
- Do “tick checks” after being outdoors. Check warm spots where they like to hide: behind knees, armpits and groin.
- Wearing light coloured clothing will make it easier to spot ticks that may be on you.
Types of Ticks:
- Dog tick: Light brown, large and non-infectious.
- Blacklegged Tick (aka Deer Tick): Small, dark brown-black, females have red bum, may carry Lyme Disease.
- Use of a specifically designed tick removal tool will help make tick removal safer & easier.
- When tick removers or tick keys are not available, use fine tipped tweezers and grab tick as close to skin as possible. Pull upwards with even pressure, avoid twisting or jerking as this may cause mouth to break off and remain in skin. If mouth breaks off, try to remove, otherwise leave it and allow a health care professional to look at it for you.
- After removal, clean the bite well using alcohol, iodine or soap and water.
*If you notice a rash or fever develop (even up to several weeks after bite), see your doctor and tell him about the tick.
Why Lyme Disease is scary:
Starts off as rash or bullseye ring and flu-like symptoms that eventually may turn into:
- joint paint
- neurological problems such as muscle weakness, numbness, paralysis and meningitis
- heart problems including arrhythmia’s
- eye inflammation
- liver inflammation and hepatitis
- severe fatigue
- Less than 5 reported cases of Lyme’s Disease in 2013 in Niagara
- Removing ticks within 24-36 hours usually prevents infection
- If concerned about a tick bite, save the tick in a sealed container to be given to a health care professional....they will test the tick for you.
Source: Niagara Region Public Health Department