Prevention & Recovery

19 Things To Know To Protect Yourself From Ticks

19 Things To Know To Protect Yourself From Ticks

Photo by Erik Karits, Pexels

Prevention & Recovery

19 Things To Know To Protect Yourself From Ticks

Ticks are on the rise in Canada, a trend partly attributed to our warmer winters. Unfortunately, this brings an increased risk of Lyme disease, which can have serious consequences if not treated promptly. 

Here’s what you need to know to avoid tick bites and how to react if you get bitten:

All information is sourced from the Government of Quebec and the Institut national de santé publique du Québec websites.

What’s a Tick?

1. A tick is a type of mite that feeds on animal or human blood.

2. Not all tick species can transmit Lyme disease. In Canada, only the blacklegged tick and western blacklegged tick (common to British Columbia) can.

3. Only blacklegged ticks carrying the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium can transmit Lyme disease, as this bacterium is responsible for the disease.

4. In Canada, tick populations carrying the bacterium are found in certain areas of Southern Manitoba, Southern Ontario, Western Ontario, Southeastern Ontario, Southern Quebec, the Maritimes and Southern British Columbia

5. Ticks prefer damp places: forests, tall grass, gardens, flowerbeds, dead leaves, etc. They can be encountered while camping, hiking and even in your backyard!

6. The blacklegged tick is tiny, especially in its early stages. As a juvenile, it is the size of a poppy seed, and as an adult, it is only sesame seed-sized. However, it can triple in size after feeding.

7. Ticks don’t attack; they cling to you if you brush against them. Good news, right?

How to Avoid Ticks

8. To avoid being bitten while hiking or camping, you should:

9. To keep ticks out of your backyard, experts recommend:

  • Avoiding tall grass, dead leaves, scrub and wood piles
  • Creating paths with gravel or wood shavings
  • Choosing dry, sunny spots for patios and children’s play areas

What To Do If Your Get A Tick Bite

10. Tick bites are usually painless, making them easy to overlook.

11. A tick must remain attached for at least 36 hours to transmit the Lyme disease bacterium, according to the Institut de santé publique du Québec.

12. After outdoor activities in high-risk areas, check yourself thoroughly (e.g., in the shower) for ticks, especially in hidden areas like the back of the knees or the navel. Also, inspect your luggage and clothing.

13. If you find a tick on yourself, your child or your pet, remove it with tweezers (like eyebrow tweezers) without pressing on its engorged abdomen. Then, clean the area with soap and water.

14. Note the date and place of the bite, trace the bite or redness with a pen to monitor its progress and ideally, keep the tick in a closed container to show a doctor if needed.

Treatment For Tick Bites

15. If you notice a red area measuring 5 cm in diameter (resembling a ring or target) that persists for 48 hours, consult a doctor.

16. In some cases, preventive antibiotic treatment may be prescribed.

17. Symptoms of Lyme disease can appear between three and 30 days after the bite. If you experience symptoms like skin redness, fatigue, fever or aches, consult a doctor who may prescribe antibiotics.

18. Complications of Lyme disease occur when the bacterium enters the bloodstream, leading to symptoms like facial paralysis, limb numbness, swollen joints, chest pain and more.

19. Lyme disease cases are increasing in Canada, with 2,525 cases reported in 2022, compared to 522 in 2014.





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Prevention & Recovery

19 Things To Know To Protect Yourself From Ticks