We have been hearing more talk about ticks at Oma and with the uptake of interest and all the outdoor activities that we’ll be taking part in, we’re provide some resources for you to think about.
Why you want to check for ticks
Bites from blacklegged ticks (also known as deer ticks) can cause Lyme disease, a potentially serious infection with flu-like symptoms, rashes, and many other negative characteristics that affect humans and animals. Not enough is known about Lyme disease, but it can take months or even years to fully recover after being treated with antibiotics.
Ticks can also carry bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can lead to varied symptoms that are unexplainable. If you find one, it’s important to be proactive – it’s easier to test a tick and learn what it’s carrying rather than testing down the road and dealing with Lyme disease later.
Ticks can be found in wooded areas or places with tall grasses and bushes, so you may be at risk if you hike, camp, or garden. Many parks and conservation areas also place signage with tick warnings and information at their trailheads that remind you to be aware while in the area.
Hotspot zones are updated every year through Ontario Public Health, and some of current risk areas are:
- Along the north shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario
- Parts of Thousand Islands National Park
- Kingston and surrounding area along the St. Lawrence Valley to the border with Quebec and northeast towards Ottawa
- Northwestern Ontario in the region of Lake of the Woods
- Pinery Park on the shore of Lake Huron
The 2021 tick hotspot zone map can be downloaded here.
Prevention is KEY!
Be proactive and aware. Cover up and wear repellent on clothes or exposed skin to minimize the likelihood of bites. Like you fill up a water bottle, make checking yourself for ticks when you are in hotspot zones routine.
Where should I check for ticks on my body?
All the warm places: around ears, scalp, hair, and butt crack. Take a shower and check yourself for ticks or have a family member give you the once over.
What happens if you find a tick on yourself or family member?
Carefully remove the whole tick using a Tick Key (which you can find online or in outdoor equipment gear stores like Mountain Equipment Co-op or Lee Valley Tools) or even a pair of fine point tweezers. It’s important to store the tick in a container for testing.
If you find a tick, generally a doctor’s protocol is to not test it for disease or to not treat your tick bite if it has been less than 24 hours since it happened. They will provide you prophylactic antibiotics only if you are in a hotspot zone. If you’re concerned, your other option is to get testing done on your own through a local vet or lab that provides the service. The cost for this testing can be $40-90.
Check out more info on the Ontario Public Health website by clicking here.
We hope this helps and wish you all a safe and fun rest of the summer!