Why are these little bugs so concerning?
It can be a VERY debilitating disease affecting humans, wildlife, and domestic animals.
Lyme disease was historically seen as a “Hikers Disease”, and that urban dwellers never need worry, however, a 2014 Globe and Mail article points out, that “Disease-carrying ticks in Canada have increased tenfold in the past two decades, spread by migratory birds and nurtured by warming climates that allow them to thrive in our own backyards. “. Great, one more thing we can add to the negative effects of Global Warming.
How to Avoid Getting Bit By A Tick:
- Wear light clothing – you can see the ticks better
- Wear long pants or socks, or gaiters
- Pull your socks over your pants
- Wear long sleeves
- Wear closed toe shoes
- Shower or bath two hours after being outside, this will wash off any loose ticks
- Do a “full body” check, particularly on little kids. (Hint: women squat to pee)
- You can wear DEET, however I”m not a fan of DEET, so I stick with the long socks, and sleeves
- Hike with a friend, (you should anyway), and have them “check your back” for any hitch hikers
- Check your kids, teach them how to check each other, and you
Has a Tick “Dug In”?
If so, here are the “do’s” and “Don’ts” of tick removal, as provided by Alberta Health.
- Make sure you have a decent pair of tweezers, used for tick removal, in your first aid kit.
- With tweezers gently grasp its head and mouth as close to the skin as possible.
- Pull the tick straight out, do not jerk or twist
- Place tick in a clean, empty pill bottle, or zip lock bag with no ventilation holes, with a small piece of moist tissue
- Call ahead to Environmental Public Health to submit the tick for bacterial testing.
- Squash it
- Apply matches, cigarettes, or petroleum jellies to a tick, as these may cause the infected tick to release the bacteria into the wound.
Here are a few videos that show proper tick removal
Symptoms of Lyme Disease:
It takes a good 36-48 hours for the tick to infect you, and hopefully you have safely removed the tick before then. But just in case, the early signs of Lyme Disease are very much like the flu:
- sore throat
Here are a full list of symptoms, provided by the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation.
As the saying goes “prevention is the best medicine”, here are some additional ideas that you can implement to reduce ticks in your backyard.