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How to identify and prevent tick bites

Black-legged or deer tick Black-legged or deer tick
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Now that warmer weather has arrived, residents are reminded to be vigilant about ticks and the potential health risks they pose.

Tick season typically runs from early spring through late fall, with peaks in activity during the warmer months.

Ticks are small, parasitic arachnids that can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, which is a growing concern in many parts of Ontario, including Simcoe County.

Ticks and Risks

Ticks are often found in grassy, wooded, and bushy areas.

They thrive in humid environments and attach themselves to animals and humans passing by.

Black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks, are particularly known for transmitting Lyme disease. The initial symptoms of Lyme disease can include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic bull's-eye rash.

If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.

Preventing Tick Bites

Preventing tick bites is crucial to reducing the risk of tick-borne diseases.

Here are some effective strategies to protect yourself, your family and your pets:

Dress Appropriately: When venturing into wooded or grassy areas, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and closed-toe shoes. Light-colored clothing makes it easier to spot ticks.

Use Tick Repellents: Apply insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, or permethrin on clothing and exposed skin. Always follow the product instructions for safe use.

Perform Tick Checks: After spending time outdoors, thoroughly check your body and pets for ticks. Pay close attention to areas like the scalp, behind the ears, underarms, groin, and behind the knees.

Shower Soon After Being Outdoors: Showering within two hours of being outdoors can help wash off unattached ticks and gives you a chance to do a thorough tick check.

Maintain Your Yard: Keep your yard clean and well-maintained. Mow the lawn regularly, clear tall grasses and brush, and create a barrier of wood chips or gravel between your lawn and wooded areas.

What to Do If You Find a Tick

If you find a tick attached to your skin, remove it as soon as possible to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Avoid twisting or jerking the tick, as this can cause parts of the tick to break off and remain in the skin.

After removing the tick, clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

Seek Medical Advice: If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Be sure to inform a medical professional about your tick bite, when it occurred, and where you likely acquired it.

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