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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Environmental Health Issues
- Biological Hazards
- Ticks and Lyme Disease

Let's Target Lyme! Ministry of Health Campaign

Let's Target Lyme

The black-legged tick or deer tick is now commonly found in our area. Some of these ticks carry the bacteria responsible for causing Lyme disease. They are not active during the cold months; however once temperatures rise above 4°C they begin to look for a blood meal. If an infected tick bites you and remains attached to you for over 24 hours you may be at an increased risk of getting Lyme disease. Lyme disease is preventable. The following sections will help you enjoy the outdoors while protecting you and your family from ticks:

 

Reduce Ticks Around Your Home

Ticks prefer to live in humid, wooded areas. To help protect your family and pets from contact with ticks you can make your environment less favourable for ticks by:

  • Keeping the grass in your yard mowed

  • Removing brush and fallen leaves from the edges of your property, especially if your yard is bordered by woods or natural areas

  • Creating a natural physical separation between your yard and wooded areas using a border of wood chips or gravel

  • Cleaning up areas under and around bird feeders to reduce the attraction of small critters such as mice.  These mammals help transport ticks and are the necessary hosts for ticks to complete their life cycle

  • Placing children’s play structures away from wooded areas



How to Avoid Tick Bites

  • When weather permits, wear long sleeves and long pants and closed-toe shoes to ensure your skin is covered

  • Light coloured clothing allows you to spot ticks that may have crawled on you as ticks are dark in colour

  • Insect repellents containing DEET or Icaridin can be sprayed on clothing or skin to repel ticks (be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use)

  • Tuck pants into socks to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs if you are going to be hiking through the bush

  • Stay on the groomed part of trails where there is no vegetation for ticks to hide on

  • Do a complete tick check of your entire body when you return from the outdoors and have someone check the back side of you

  • A quick shower may help wash away ticks that have not yet attached

  • Outdoor wear can be placed in the drier for a few minutes to kill ticks

  • Speak to your vet about ways to protect your pets

 

 

Learn to Recognize Ticks

Black Legged Tick Click on the preview images to enlarge them.
How to Recognize a Tick How to Recognize a Tick
Tick Types

Black Legged Tick
Lone Star Tick
Dog Tick

Image showing appearance and relative sizes of adult male and female, nymph and larval ticks.

Unfed Tick vs. Fed (Engorged) Tick Unfed tick vs. Fed (Engorged) Tick
  • If you see a tick on your body that resembles the unfed tick above, it means that the tick was probably attached for less than 24 hours therefore there was not enough time to transfer the bacteria. If the tick on your body resembles the fed tick above, then this indicates that the tick has been attached for a longer period of time.

  • Why it takes more than 24 hours to get infected from a feeding tick

 

What To Do If You Find a Tick On You

Tick Removal
  • Don't panic

  • Remove the tick using tweezers or a tick puller, by grasping the tick by the head as close to your skin as possible. Pull on it firmly, but gently and straight out

  • Examine the tick to see if it is flat or fat.  If it is flat is has likely been on you less than 24 hours and it is unlikely that if it was a positive tick that it would transmit the bacteria.

  • If the tick is fat it is likely that it has been attached to you and feeding for more than 24 hours and you may be at a higher risk of getting Lyme disease so consult with your health care provider

  • Clean and disinfect the site of the bite

  • Check the graphics below to help recognize ticks

  • Make a note of the date you removed the tick- early symptoms of Lyme disease appear from 3 days to 30 days following the tick bite and may include a red rash, a bulls-eye rash, fever, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain.  These early symptoms may disappear without treatment; however the disease can move into the next stage where it may be more difficult to treat

 

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Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
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