Spring is here and the snow has gone. We all rush out to enjoy the warmer weather, go for walks and work in our gardens. It’s also the time when ticks are out. In many places ticks are out all year long but this time of year is the start of their most active time (April – September). Here is some tips to help limit your chances of getting bit.
Where they are:
Ticks live in grassy, bushy, and wooded areas. They can be in city parks and in your own backyard and garden. Hiking, gardening, walking the dog, camping, and hunting all bring you into tick territory. If you do go into the woods, stay as close to the middle of the paths as possible and avoid walking in the tall grass or where there is lots of leaf litter
Treat your clothing:
Products containing 0.5% permethrin can be used to treat your clothes and gear to fend off ticks. You can even buy permethrin-treated clothing. Check out this website for more information about permethrin: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/permethrin-treated-clothing.html
Use the right bug spray:
Using repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus can help detract ticks. Here is a website that provides safe products to use. https://www.tickawarenesscanada.com/repellents#:~:text=Picaridin%2FIcardin&text=Products%20containing%20up%20to%2020,to%20be%20safe%20and%20efficacious.&text=Although%20outdoor%20clothing%2C%20pretreated%20with,for%20use%20by%20Canadian%20consumers.
When you come back from outdoors, there are a few things you can do to prevent bites. The first thing is to check your clothes for ticks. You can do this outside to avoid bringing them into the house. Ticks are hard to kill. The best way is to drown them in rubbing alcohol or freeze them for a few days. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/lyme-disease/removing-submitting-ticks-testing.html# When you take your clothes off throw them in the dryer and tumble dry on high heat for 10mins to kill any ticks. If you need to wash the clothes, wash them in hot water before putting them in a high heat dryer. Cold and medium temperatures will not kill ticks.
Examine your gear and your pets to see if any ticks have hitched a ride into your home.
Shower as soon as you can (within 2 hours) to help wash off any unattached ticks. While you are in the shower, do a thorough tick check: under the arms, in and around ears, inside belly button, back of knees, in and around hair, between the legs, and around the waist.
If you find a tick, you will want to remove it as soon as possible. Use a clean, fine-tipped tweezer and grasp as close to the skins as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick as this can cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens remove the mouth parts with the tweezers. If unable, leave it alone and let the skin heal. Watch the area for redness or infection and if you see any sign call your doctor. After removing the tick clean the area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
If you develop signs of tick borne diseases they will usually show within a few weeks of being bitten. Signs include a fever/chills, aches and pains, and sometimes a rash. When in doubt contact your doctor or your local Health Care Unit.