Point Edward, ON – Lambton Public Health is reminding area residents to protect themselves and their families against ticks and Lyme disease when outdoors.
Lyme disease is spread by the bite of an infected blacklegged tick; a tiny, slow-moving bug about the size of a sesame seed. Ticks live in wooded areas and fields, and attach themselves to a person or animal that brushes against plants, bushes or tall grass. Once attached, ticks feed on blood; most people never feel the bite.
“Not all blacklegged ticks carry the bacteria,” said Matthew Butler, Health Protection Supervisor for Lambton Public Health. “Even if the tick is positive, the risk of getting Lyme disease is low.”
The American dog tick is the most common tick in Lambton, and it is not an efficient transmitter of Lyme disease. Dog ticks are larger in size (about the size of a pencil eraser).
To protect against tick bites:
- Be prepared – Use bug spray with DEET and wear long sleeves and pants when walking outdoors
- Check for ticks – Once you return home look for ticks on you, your family members and pets
- Know the symptoms – Some people may experience a rash, fever and aches
If you find a tick, use tweezers to grasp the tick’s head as close to the skin as possible and pull straight out using steady pressure. DO NOT twist, squeeze or burn the tick. Prompt removal of ticks helps prevent Lyme disease. When detected early, Lyme disease is easily treated with antibiotics.
The most common symptom is an expanding skin rash that can appear between three to 30 days after a tick bite. Anyone who develops symptoms after being bitten by a tick should see a healthcare provider.
Blacklegged ticks have been found in areas of Lambton County. For instance, the Pinery Provincial Park has a confirmed population of blacklegged ticks.
Due to COVID-19, Lambton Public Health is not accepting ticks for identification purposes at this time. Clients may submit ticks to eTick.ca for identification. Only ticks found on humans should be sent for identification.
Learn about precautions to prevent tick bites and how to safely remove a tick at LambtonPublicHealth.ca or visit ontario.ca/lyme for more information about Lyme disease.