Picture submitted by Grey Bruce Health Unit to Blackburn News

How to prevent tick and mosquito bites

Huron County Public Health officials are warning residents to protect themselves from ticks and mosquitos.

Public Health Inspector Kaitlyn Kelly said the risk of becoming ill from a bug bite in Huron County is low, but it is still important to protect yourself against Lyme disease and West Nile virus.

Lyme disease is spread through the bite of an infected black-legged tick. A tick must be attached and feeding for at least 24-36 hours before the tick will start to transmit the bacteria, so early detection and removal is important.

West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The easiest way to prevent infection is to prevent mosquito bites, especially during dawn and dusk when many mosquito species are most active.

Some ways to prevent tick and mosquito bites include light coloured clothing covering your skin, with your sock over your pant legs.

You can use insect repellent, and conduct tick checks on yourself, your children and your pets.

It’s a good idea to shower after returning from the outdoors and put your clothes into a dryer on high heat for 60 minutes to kill any possible ticks.

If you find a tick on you, remove it using tweezers, grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible and pulling straight out slowly but firmly. Place the tick in a container and bring it to your healthcare provider or the Huron County Health Unit for identification and testing if needed.

The Health Unit’s West Nile virus mosquito trapping program will begin mid-June and tick dragging will begin this spring to better understand the pest populations.

For more information on Lyme disease, West Nile virus and ways to protect yourself, visit www.huronhealthunit.ca.