TORONTO — Tick season is in full swing now that the snow is gone and the temperatures are heating up. That means you and your animals are at risk of picking up unwanted passengers, particularly in wooded areas or areas with tall grasses and bushes, including city gardens and parks. Being bitten by a tick can mean contracting Lyme disease, which causes headaches, fatigue, rashes, fever, and enlarged lymph nodes. Over 2,000 people in Ontario have contracted the disease from infected ticks since 2019.
That’s why it’s especially important to take precautions when going outdoors. The provincial government provided the following tips to follow:
- Wearing light-coloured clothing so it’s easier to spot ticks.
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants tucked into your socks, and closed-toed shoes.
- Using an insect repellent with DEET or icaridin in it, which is effective and safe when applied as directed on the label.
- Staying on marked trails.
- Checking yourself, your children, and your pets after being outdoors and removing any ticks promptly, and washing your clothes after an outdoor activity.
“Now that warmer weather is finally here, we want to ensure Ontarians know how to protect themselves from Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “The areas where ticks can be found are spreading, and as a result, more Ontarians are at a greater risk of getting a tick bite. By taking simple precautions, you can protect yourself and your family so that we can all enjoy the outdoors safely.”
Blacklegged ticks are small and hard to see. If you find ticks on your body, it is important to remove them quickly. Use tweezers and grasp the tick close to the surface of the skin. Pull the tick out with steady pressure, then clean the area with soap and water. Keep an eye out for a circular shaped rash around the bite.
If you have any symptoms or health concerns after a tick bite, consult a health care provider as soon as possible. If caught early, most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics.