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Health Unit Encouraging Residents To Be Tick Smart

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Tick season is practically upon us, and the Health Unit wants you to take precautions if you’re heading outdoors. 

Ticks will be active this week as temperatures reach double digits, and with people getting outside, it’s important to be tick smart and do all you can to help reduce the risk of Lyme disease.

Public Health Inspector Jane McCann says while not all black legged ticks carry bacteria that causes Lyme disease, many of them do, and it’s important to be aware. 

“We are seeing ticks in the area, so it is important that everyone takes precautions to prevent ticks from attaching and possibly causing Lyme disease which can be transferred from the tick to the person that the tick is biting,” McCann said. 

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There are a number of preventative measures you can take before heading out.

You should dress in light coloured clothing so you can see that a tick is on you, and you should apply an insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin.

It’s also important to do a tick check once you get inside, and if found, you should remove and dispose of them.

You can also put your outdoor clothes in a hot dryer to kill ticks, and take a shower to help remove any unattached ones. 

McCann says when a tick bites, it typically stays attached to the person for 3-4 days. 

“That’s why you want to get those ticks off you as quickly as possible,” McCann said. “As long as you can get them off in less than 24 hours, there’s almost no chance that the bacteria would’ve actually transf

erred from the tick to yourself, and therefore preventing Lyme disease.” 

However, McCann notes if the tick has been attached for longer than 24 hours you may be at an increased risk, and you should consult your healthcare provider.

Lyme disease symptoms can range from a bull’s eye rash around the bite area, among other symptoms

“A bull’s eye rash kind of looks like a target-symbol,” McCann said. “Other symptoms include headaches, fever, joint and muscle pain. If you think you’ve been bitten or you know you’ve been bitten by a tick and you’re having any of those symptoms, then it’s really important to go to your doctor.” 

For more information about ticks and Lyme disease, you can head here or call the health unit at 1-800-660-5853.

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