Early spring weather has Interior Health cautioning the public about the importance of checking yourself and family as well as pets for ticks.
Dr. Silvina Mema, a Medical Health Officer says although the risk of contracting Lyme disease is low, if you find yourself with an attached you’ll still want to have it removed as soon as possible.
“The risk of Lyme disease in B.C is higher in the southern mainland and Vancouver Island. In Interior Health the most common tick is the wood tick which is not known to carry Lyme disease. However, wood ticks can carry other disease such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.”
Dr. Mema says ticks can be removed by using needle nose tweezers to gently grasp it close to the skin and pulling it straight out, without squeezing the tick.
After removal, clean the area with soap and water.
She recommends if the tick is deeply burrowed or if have you any concerns, to seek the assistance of a medical professional.
“Signs of many tick-borne infections can be quite similar and include fever, headache, muscle pain, and rash. Anyone who experiences a bulls-eye rash or other symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible,” Mema adds.
Ticks are most often found in tall grass and wooded areas.
- Walking on cleared trails when in tall grass or wooded areas.
- Wearing a hat, long sleeves, pants, and light-coloured clothing.
- Tucking pant legs into socks or boots.
- Applying insect repellent containing DEET on uncovered skin.
- Carefully checking clothing and scalp (covered or not) when leaving an area where ticks may live.
- Having a shower after returning from areas where ticks may live.To reduce ticks from entering your home and yard, try these steps:
- Keep your lawn short and remove any fallen leaves and weeds.
- Keep a buffer area such as wood-chip or gravel border between your lawn and wooded areas or stone walls. Any play equipment or play zones should be kept away from wooded areas.
- Trim tree branches to allow more sunlight in your yard.
- Keep wood piles and bird feeders away from the house.
- Widen and maintain trails on your property.
(Files from Interior Health)