Tick Protection & Prevention Information

June 2013

Reports have been released from media and Public Health Units this year regarding higher than average tick populations. You may have noticed more ticks on your dog this year than in previous years. Listed below are helpful resources that will provide information on tick identification, habitat and removal; the symptoms and dangers of Lyme disease; and how to protect yourself from being bitten.

Key information:

  • This year (2013) the Public Health Units are noticing an increased population of Dog Ticks; it is only the Blacklegged (deer) Ticks that can potentially carry Lyme disease.
  • Blacklegged Ticks are much smaller than Dog Ticks.
  • Be aware that according to Lyme Ontario, those various “home remedies” you may have heard for tick removal have not been proven effective and can potentially do more harm than good. Please be advised that under no circumstances should a flame, ointment, flammable liquid (gasoline, oil, lighter fluid, acetone, nail polish, etc.) or caustic material be used in removal attempts. Seek the attention of a doctor to remove the tick or refer to the material below to find out how to properly remove a tick at home.
  • If you (or someone you know) have been bitten by a tick, once you have removed it carefully, you can bring it to your local Public Health Unit for identification. If it is determined that it's a Blacklegged tick, the Public Health Unit will send it to be tested for Lyme disease.
  • Blacklegged ticks cannot jump or fly. Instead, they seek hosts by climbing on vegetation such as grasses or shrubs in the woods (especially along trails) as well as the fringe area between the woods and border. Ticks will wait for a host to rub against them and climb onto the host’s body, eventually attempting to attach and feed.
  • Tick bites are generally painless so a visual check of the skin is necessary. A tick bite can happen anywhere, but it is particularly important to check for ticks if you have been walking or working in potential tick habitat or in areas of higher tick populations.
  • In Ontario, blacklegged ticks are most commonly found in areas along the north shores of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
  • If you are entering tick habitat, an easy way to avoid ticks is to always wear protective clothing such as long pants, socks and closed-toe footwear. The resources below include alternative options for tick avoidance.

Resources

Public Health Agency of Ontario Lyme Disease Fact Sheet provides information on ticks and Lyme disease:
http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/publications/disease/docs/lyme.pdf

Including Frequently Asked Questions:
http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/publications/disease/docs/lyme_faq.pdf

The Lyme Disease Association of Ontario has an excellent fact sheet with information on tick identification, avoidance and removal, as well as the symptoms and testing for Lyme disease:
http://www.lymeontario.org/page.php?id=1797

Lyme disease: Tiny tick, big problem
What is Lyme disease, how is it diagnosed and treated?

This article from CBC provides additional information on how to minimize the risk and what to do should you find a tick:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2013/05/17/f-lyme-disease.html