Stay Safe Against Ticks
Ticks are already causing problems for some people this year! In summertime it is common to pick up a tick or two, but ticks are around all year. In the summer we are more vulnerable simply because we are hiking, and wearing shorts, open toed shoes therefore offering more exposed skin for ticks to latch on to.
The province of Ontario says that Lyme disease is found through almost all of southern Ontario. Lyme disease is can be caused by a bite from the black legged (or deer) tick, but there are other types of ticks and they can transmit other diseases. You are most likely to pick up ticks and perhaps Lyme disease in forests or fields. There have been reports of people finding ticks on themselves after being in their back yard.
What Can We Do About Ticks?
First is to be aware of what a tick looks like. Learn to identify common ticks in Ontario
If you will be spending time outside take some precautions. Wearing light coloured clothing helps you see later if you’ve picked up a tick. Wearing long sleeves and pants keeps ticks off you, especially if you tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks.
Applying a bug spray will deter ticks. The U.S. E.P.A. recommends a bug spray with D.E.E.T., and also less toxic options like Icaridin (aka Picaridin), or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
After you have been out, check yourself (and any pet you may have brought along). Look in soft areas like behind your knees, under your arms and your groin. Also check your scalp, they may have crawled up there. Get someone to look at your back. If you have a tick on you and it has attached itself, don’t panic. It takes at least 24 hours and probably up to 72 hours for Lyme disease to be transmitted from the tick to you. You want to get a pair of tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible, squeeze gently so you don’t crush the tick, and pull at a 90 degree angle to the surface of your skin. Afterward, wash the area the tick was on with soap and water and disinfect it with some rubbing alcohol.
Although ticks are a nuisance, they don’t need to limit your enjoyment of a well deserved break. Summer is short so get out there!
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