The Ontario government is encouraging people to protect themselves from tick bites ahead of the Victoria Day long weekend.

Health Minister, Christine Elliott said in a release on Thursday, "We want to make sure the people of Ontario understand how to protect themselves and their loved ones from Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses so they can enjoy the outdoors safely."

Lyme disease is a serious infection that occurs from an infected blacklegged tick bite. Ticks can be found nearly anywhere in Ontario, and the warmer weather means the insect is active.

Some ways to prevent tick bites are to:

  • Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, closed-toed shoes, and long pants tucked into your socks;
  • Use an insect repellent with 'DEET' or 'icaridin' in it;
  • Check yourself, your children, and your pets after being outdoors and remove any ticks promptly.

Ticks are small and difficult to see, but if you do find one, remove it carefully with fine-tipped tweezers and clean with soap and water after removal.

If bitten by a tick, consult with a healthcare professional.