Female blacklegged ticks in various stages of feeding. Note the change in size and colour. Photo courtesy of http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/

Protect Yourself Against Lyme Disease

Tick season is here and the Windsor-Essex Public Health Unit warns that black-legged ticks can carry deadly Lyme disease.

Public health inspector Elaine Bennett says last year, two of 380 ticks collected tested positive for Lyme Disease.

She recommends doing a full body check if you walk in hot spots and wooded areas like Point Pelee National Park and wearing insect repellent with DEET, long sleeves and pants tucked into your socks.

Bennett says Windsor-Essex is seeing more ticks lately.

“This is the time when pesky ticks are out in the long grass and shrubs. They attach to people because they’re looking for the blood meal and we want to make sure that our community is protected,” says Bennett.

Bennett says cover up and avoid walking in tall grass.

“Doing a full body check is very important because you don’t really feel when a tick is attaching to the body. So, you want to make sure you check the front and the back,” she says.

Bennett says ticks are active from April to November.

“We just ask that you don’t walk directly along long grass, shrubs and wooded areas,” says Bennett.

Lyme disease has symptoms such as a fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue and a skin rash that looks like a red bull’s eye.

Bennett says if you have a tick, use a tweezer to remove it, contact a doctor and bring it to the health unit.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health says last year, there were almost 1,000 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Ontario.