Community

Tick time is here

The arrival of warmer weather means many of us are spending more time outdoors. The change in weather also brings out ticks - small bugs that feed on the blood of humans and animals and can sometimes transmit disease.

“Ticks are most often found in tall grass and wooded areas so covering up before you head outdoors and checking for ticks on yourself, your children, and your pets after being outdoors are simple things that go a long way to prevent tick bites,” said Jennifer Jeyes, communicable disease specialist with Interior Health.

The most common tick species in the Interior Health region is the Wood Tick (Dermacentor andersoni), which does not carry the Lyme disease bacteria. The Wood Tick can carry other diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, although it is very rare.

Some ticks also have toxins that can cause temporary muscle weakness and paralysis if attached for several days, but the symptoms fade once the tick is removed. Signs of many tick-borne infections can be quite similar and include fever, headache, muscle pain, and rash.

The tick species that carries Lyme disease (Ixodes pacificus) is more common in the coastal areas of B.C., but may also be present in low numbers in the Interior region. Less than one per cent of Ixodes ticks in B.C. carry Lyme disease. In addition to fever, headache, and muscle pain, people infected with Lyme disease will often develop a rash that looks like a ‘bull’s-eye’ target and expands from the site of the tick bite.

“Most tick bites do not result in illness; however, all tick bites should be cleaned, as infection can occur whenever there is a break in the skin,” added Jeyes.

“It is important to watch for signs of tick-transmitted illnesses. Anyone who experiences a bull’s-eye rash or other symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible.”

Other precautions include:

Walking on cleared trails when in tall grass or wooded areas.

Wearing a hat, long sleeves, pants, and light coloured clothing.

Tucking pant legs into socks or boots.

Applying insect repellent containing DEET on uncovered skin.

Carefully checking clothing and scalp (covered or not) when leaving an area where ticks may live.

Having a shower after returning from areas where ticks may live.

If you find a tick on yourself, a family member, or pet, wear gloves and gently remove it. Needle-nose tweezers can be used to gently grasp the tick close to the skin. Without squeezing, pull the tick straight out.

Be careful not to crush the tick as this could cause it to inject its stomach contents into your skin.

After removal, clean the area with soap and water.

If you have concerns or need assistance removing a tick, please contact your family doctor or visit a walk-in medical clinic.

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Minister of Education and MLA visit Fernie kindergarten kids
 
Advanced doula training course hosted in Fernie
 
Celebrating 115 years: sharing stories with a past publisher
Cops for Cancer Tour de North wraps up in Prince Rupert
 
Snowboarder admits guilt, agrees to pay for damaged church sign
 
Nelson bus stop bulletin board lit on fire
The Kootenays’ Cutest Pet winner!
 
Mass training helps save lives
 
AIDS Walk for life

Community Events, September 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Sep 18 edition online now. Browse the archives.