Adult deer tick

Lyme disease and ticks

As we move into hiking and camping season we have to be alert to prevent insect bites, particularly deer ticks that may be carrying Lyme disease.

The Millstone newspaper has an excellent short article “Lyme Disease and ticks. What do you need to know.”  The key points, and some others, are as follows:

  • Dress in light-coloured clothing to make ticks easier to spot
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants with your cuffs tucked in.
  • Always do a tick check when you return inside. Doing routine tick checks during camps or hikes is a great idea. Here’s what a deer tick looks like:
Adult deer tick
Adult deer tick photo by Scott Bauer. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
  • Remove any ticks you find.
  • Don’t panic: the risk of Lyme disease transmission is a minimal if the tick or nymph has been attached for less than 24 hours. In addition, not all ticks carry the bacteria.
  • If a tick has been attached greater than 24 hours and it looks like it has fed and is enlarged, contact your medical provider.

If you have been bitten, watch for these symptoms of Lyme disease:

  • bulls-eye rash around a bite area
  • headache
  • fever
  • muscle and joint pain

Contact your medical provider if you experience any of these symptoms.

The Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit website has detailed information on avoiding, identifying, and dealing with tick bites.