Photo of blacklegged tick courtesy of © Can Stock Photo Inc. / epantha

Be On The Lookout For Ticks This Weekend

With the May long weekend ahead, local health officials are asking anyone who is spending time outdoors to be vigilant and keep an eye out for ticks.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit says its vector borne disease team has been scanning the region for blacklegged ticks (also known as deer ticks), which have the potential to carry Lyme disease. The health unit says there are indications that these ticks are present in the area.

“We’re starting to see increasing tick populations in our region. Our advice is to take a few minutes to check whether you or the people you’re with may have picked up a tick after you’ve been walking or hiking through the woods or areas of tall grass, or if you brushed up against vegetation,” says Jeremy Hogeveen, the vector borne disease coordinator with the health unit. “While we are most concerned with blacklegged ticks, the vast majority of ticks we’re finding, and that people submit to us, are dog ticks, which cannot transmit Lyme Disease.”

The health unit says if you find a tick on your body or on someone else, follow these steps:

  • Try to wear gloves when handling an engorged tick.
  • Use tweezers to grab the tick as close to the head as possible. Do not use fingers.
  • Pull the tick upward and away with steady pressure, ensuring to pull it straight out.
  • Once the tick has been removed, clean the area with soap and water.
  • Wash hands thoroughly.
  • Seek medical attention if you are concerned about a possible skin infection (Removing ticks within 24 to 36 hours after a bite usually prevents infection).

If a tick is discovered, it can be submitted to the health unit for identification and testing at 50 King St. in London or 51 Front St. E in Strathroy.