Health, Seniors and Active Living
How do you protect yourself, your child and your pets from Tick-Borne Diseases?
- Perform a thorough TICK CHECK after being outdoors.
- Inspect yourself, your children and pets for ticks and remove any ticks found as soon as possible.
- Do not stop if you find one tick – there may be more.
- Bathing soon after coming indoors is a good way to find ticks.
- Be sure the lighting is good and pay attention to areas where ticks may be difficult to spot such as armpits, the belly button, groin, behind the knees, places where clothing is tight (such as watch straps and underwear elastics) and in hair. Ticks may be even more difficult to see on darker skin, or skin that has a lot of freckles or moles.
- Use trails, whenever possible, and stay to the centre of hiking trails or paths.
- Wear light-coloured clothing to make it easier to see ticks crawling on your clothing.
- Wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt so that most exposed skin is covered.
- Tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks; this will make it more difficult for the ticks to attach to your skin.
- Apply an appropriate repellent (it should state ‘for use against ticks’ on the product label) on clothing and exposed skin. Always read and follow instructions for use.
- Launder clothing that has been worn outdoors. A hot dryer cycle will kill ticks. Be sure to check items such as backpacks and towels which may have come into contact with vegetation while outdoors.
Video © Government of Canada
What should I do if I find a tick on myself, my child or my pet?
- If a tick is attached to the skin, remove it with tweezers:
- grasp the tick close to the skin as possible with tweezers and pull slowly upward with steady pressure; avoid twisting or crushing the tick. Other methods, such as using a hot match, petroleum jelly, soap, etc. are not recommended as they do not work and may cause injury.
- Note : only a small piece of the tick’s mouthparts will be under the skin. Ticks do not burrow or embed themselves into the skin. If a small piece of the mouthparts remain in the skin after the tick is removed, try to remove it gently with fine tweezers and keep the area clean to prevent infection. Your body will treat the mouthparts much like a sliver and may become slightly inflamed and warm to the touch around the wound.
- Cleanse the skin around the tick bite with soap and water or disinfectant.
- Mark the date and location of the tick bite on a calendar for future reference.
- If you develop a rash or other symptoms, see your a doctor promptly.
- Special tick-removing devices are unnecessary. Regular tweezers are sufficient.
- The tick may be sent in to the Blacklegged Tick Passive Surveillance Program
How to Properly Remove a Tick
Video © University of Manitoba.
How to Avoid Ticks
Video © University of Manitoba.
What can I do to reduce ticks around my home?
- In areas where blacklegged tick populations are established, a large number of landscape management strategies can be employed to help reduce the abundance of ticks.
- In general, tick numbers can be lowered by reducing cover and shade. Activities such as keeping grass mowed short, removing leaf litter and trimming other vegetation (shrubs and trees) can reduce shade cover in commonly used areas.
- Also consider creating ‘tick unfriendly’ habitats by using drier, less water-demanding materials such as mulch, gravel, decks or cement in commonly used areas.
Will my pet get tick-borne disease?
Many dogs do not become ill when exposed to tick-borne diseases. Some may develop symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite and joint pain. Tick control products such as tick collars or topical treatments are available for pets. Please note that products designed for dogs may cause illness and death in cats. Please use veterinary tick control products according to the label and your veterinarian’s advice. Removal of the tick within 24 hours protects the pet from infection. Vaccines to prevent Lyme disease are also available for dogs; contact your veterinarian for more information: www.mvma.ca.
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