With spring swiftly approaching (yay!), it’s important to be educated when it comes to ticks and Lyme disease.
These suckers give me the heebie-jeebies, with earwigs being a very close second. A few years ago, my husband and I headed out to a nearby field to enjoy a picnic, kid-free, and my goodness, there were ticks everywhere, and I found I couldn’t relax knowing we were in the middle of a field infested with them. It really ruined our time outside.
Did you know, two Canadian singers contracted Lyme disease? Avril Lavigne contracted the disease while on tour in 2015, and had a really hard time getting diagnosed. She was passed around from doctor to specialist and back again. Avril complained about flu-like symptoms and ultimately had to diagnose herself. She had to take antibiotics and get a lot of rest, canceling shows and tours.
Shania Twain also contracted the disease while dealing with a divorce, saying that she feared she’d never sing again, as the disease affected her vocal chords. Shania also canceled shows and tours to get better.
It’s serious, and not just for your animals. I say this because we often hear vets advising us to check our pets for ticks when they come in the house.
In our own home, both Tyler and Caleb have come in with a tick on them. Tyler came to me with tweezers asking me to remove something on his leg that he suspected was a tick. Thankfully it hadn’t burrowed. Caleb, too, came in one day from school in late spring, and I noticed something on his leg. We were lucky that this one didn’t burrow either.
There are two types in the Niagara region of Ontario
The Blacklegged/Deer Tick
- These can carry bacteria that cause Lyme disease
- They are active in late spring and early fall
- They’re found in forested areas
- They have no white markings on their bodies
- These ticks can be very difficult to spot because they are small
The American Dog Tick
- They usually have white markings
- These are the most common in the Niagara region
- They are usually found in long grass and tree cover
- You’ll see them in the spring and summer months
- They are roughly the size of an apple seed
- They’re not carriers of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease
Reduce the odds of contracting Lyme disease from ticks
- Wear light coloured clothing so the ticks are easy to spot
- Do full body checks daily on yourself, your pets and your children
- Use insect repellents that contain Icaridin or DEET
- Outdoor workers should shower/bathe within 2 hours of being in grassy/wooded areas
- Cut your grass and get rid of leaf little (popular spots for ticks)
How to Remove a Tick
- Using fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the tick’s head as close to the skin as possible
- Slowly pull the tick away from the skin until it releases its grip. Don’t twist or crush. Ensure that you remove all mouthparts, otherwise, you’ll run the risk of infection
- After removal, wash the area with soap and water
If you aren’t sure or think you may see white markings on the tick, save the tick in a small jar or zipper-topped bag and submit it to a center for testing (usually these are no-cost).
Monitor for unusual signs or symptoms. This link can help you to figure out what to look for.
Stay safe out there, friends!