With warmer weather upon us, it’s no surprise that Halton residents are gearing up to get outside and have a good time.
Now, the province has issued a warning about tick bites to reduce the risk of Lyme disease this season.
If you’re planning to head outside this summer – especially into areas with grass and bushes – you might be exposed to ticks, which can be found almost anywhere in Ontario, according to the province.
Lyme disease is spread through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick, reads a recent release.
For anyone who lives or visits a wooded area with tall grass and bushes, or moist environments, there are precautions you can take to reduce your risk to the disease.
Here’s what the province has advised:
- Stay on marked trails, where possible
- Wear long sleeves, pants, socks, and closed shoes
- Tuck pants into socks and wear light-coloured clothing to make ticks more visible
- Use insect repellent with DEET or icaridin on clothes and exposed skin
- Check your body thoroughly for ticks after being outdoors — promptly removing ticks can help prevent infection.
You should do a full body check for ticks, paying close attention to your scalp, ankles, armpots, groin, naval, and behind your ears and knees, according to the province.
“Use a mirror to check the back of your body or having someone else check for you,” reads the release.
What happens if Lyme disease goes untreated?
The implications can be serious.
“An infection can lead to recurring arthritis, neurological problems, numbness, and paralysis,” reads the release.
Consult a health care professional if you experience any of the following symptoms after a tick bite:
- Skin rash
- Muscle and joint pain
- Weakness, numbness or tingling
- Generally feeling unwell.
According to the province, most cases of Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics if it’s caught early.
While it’s important to keep these tips in mind all year, it’s also important to note that the greatest risk of getting Lyme disease is during the spring and summer months.
In fact, 997 cases of Lyme disease were reported in 2017 alone.
Stay safe, Halton.