Lyme disease has become a growing health issue in Ontario, with some locations are considered high-risk due to the method that the disease is transported. Lyme disease travels through ticks which can be transported around by animals (including birds) and you could see one almost anywhere in the province.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams says “We’ve seen a marked increase in the number of confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Ontario, particularly in the last year. This is partly due to an increase and expansion of Blacklegged Tick populations to new areas of the province.”
Lyme disease symptoms
Most symptoms of Lyme disease in humans usually appear between three and 30 days after a bite from an infected Blacklegged tick.
The most common symptom of Lyme disease is an expanding skin rash, which can appear between three and 30 days after a bite. However, many people never get or see a rash and other symptom may occur such as fever, chills, muscle aches and joint pains, fatigue (more tired than usual) and more.
If the disease is left untreated, other symptoms may develop including fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, problems with your heartbeat, breathing, balance and short-term memory. In rare cases, Lyme disease may result in death.
Protect yourself and your pet by taking these precautions:
- Wear light-coloured clothing – It makes it easier to spot ticks
- Cover up by wearing closed footwear and tucking pants into socks
- Have tick removal kit accessible
- Perform full-body checks on yourself paying special attention to areas such as the groin, navel, armpits, and scalp and behind ears and knees. Use a mirror or your phone camera to check the back of your body or have someone else check for you.
- Check Your Pet for Ticks every day by running your fingers through your pet fur and paying special attention to areas such:
- In and around the ears
- Around the eyelids
- Under the collar
- Under the front legs
- Between the back legs
- Between the toes
- Around the tail
- Take a shower as soon as you can after being outdoors to more easily find and wash off any ticks crawling on you
- Place outdoor clothing through the dryer cycle for 60 minutes on high heat before washing to kill any ticks that may be hard to see. Ticks thrive in wet environments
What to do if you find a tick on yourself of your pet
If you’ve been bitten by a tick, remove it carefully using tweezers following these instructions or a tick remover. Remove it as soon as possible. Removing ticks within 24 hours reduces the risk of infection.
Save the tick in a plastic bag that you can seal or a pill bottle. Record the location and date of the bite.
Submitting ticks to a provincial public health laboratory – press here for more info
We recommend purchasing a tick-removal kit to keep you and your loved ones safe from ticks.
You can purchase one from here – www.amazon.ca