The Public Health Agency of Canada released a warning about the heightened risk of Lyme Disease from tick bites in Ontario this summer. The blacklegged tick, a carrier of Lyme Disease, can be found "almost anywhere in Ontario." Every summer, the population of blacklegged ticks becomes even more established across the province.
Lyme Disease is an infectious bacterial disease which can cause all kinds of serious long term health problems. Symptoms include redness and redness, fever, chills and muscle aches. Symptoms often don't appear until a week after being bitten. There were 997 reported cases of Lyme Disease in 2017.
Ticks are mostly found in moist, wooded areas with tall grass and bushes. With camping and cottage season around the corner, it's important for you to know how to protect yourself from tick bites.
Wearing long pants and sleeves is the last thing anyone wants to do on a hot summer day, but it's one of the most effective precautions you can take. Socks and closed-toe shoes are also key.
As dorky as as this may seem, you need to be tucking your pants into your socks. Also, try your best to wear light coloured clothes. Both of these things will help make ticks more visible if they land on you.
Wear insect repellent at all times, specifically with DEET or icaridin in it. Spray it on your clothes and exposed skin, and don't forget to check yourself from top to bottom for ticks. There are certain spots on your body that you should be checking constantly, including your scalp, armpits, ankles and behind your ears.
Finally, if you're out hiking, make sure you stay on marked trails. Always check your pet for ticks - if you spot one, get it removed right away. Also, ticks are attracted to birds, so bird feeders should be kept at a safe distance from your home.
Source: Government of Ontario