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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

#Alert Kawartha Lakes Families - Watch for Ticks!

Kawartha Lakes Mums Asks - Have You Had the Tick Talk? 

Kawartha Lakes Residents are being advised to beware of ticks which can cause Lyme Disease. Have you had the tick talk with your children?
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Blacklegged Tick Waits for Host
While Kawartha Lakes is not indicated as a high-risk zone for tick-borne Lyme Disease yet, there are many nearby areas that are Lyme Disease hot spots. Want more info?
Here is the press release issued by the Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes -Brock Health Unit, along with pictures and additional info from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Beware of Ticks That Can Spread Lyme Disease, Health Unit Advises

Local residents are being encouraged to watch out for black-legged ticks that can spread Lyme disease. With black-legged ticks (also known as deer ticks) being found in more parts of Ontario, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit advises people to take precautions.
Deer Tick Map Showing Hot Spots
While the risk of an infected tick spreading Lyme disease to a person is relatively low, the threat is still there and it is best not to take any chances, says Richard Ovcharovich, Manager of Environmental Health with the HKPR District Health Unit.
“Lyme disease can be very devastating to a person, so you should be watchful for blacklegged ticks when camping, fishing, hiking and being active outdoors,” he says. “The best advice is to get tick smart. Know the bug, know the bite and know what to do.” 
Ticks that spread Lyme disease act like hitchhikers. The ticks are tiny and cannot fly, but will settle on tall grasses and bushes until they can attach themselves to a passing person or animal. These ticks will feed on their host’s blood, and in some cases, may transmit Lyme disease to an individual.
“Ticks are more likely to transmit infection to a person after being attached for more than 24 hours of feeding,” Ovcharovich notes. “That makes the prompt detection and quick removal of ticks one of the key methods to prevent Lyme disease.” 

How Can You Prevent Ticks?

To prevent ticks from biting, the Health Unit advises local residents to:

  • Wear light-coloured clothing, which makes ticks easier to spot and remove before they feed.
  • Wear closed footwear and socks and when possible, wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck your pants into your socks, especially if you are walking in long grass. 
  • Use a tick repellent that contains DEET (follow the manufacturer’s directions for use). 
  • Protect your pet. Dogs, cats and other pets can carry ticks that spread Lyme disease. Pet owners should put tick and flea collars on pets and from time-to-time check dogs and cats for the presence of ticks. Contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your pet being exposed to ticks. 
  • If in a location where blacklegged ticks are known to be present, check your body for ticks at least once a day. Pay special attention to the groin, scalp and armpits. A mirror can be useful to check the back of your body, or ask someone else to check it
    Tick Nymphs Can Appear to be Dust Specks
  •  If you find a tick on your body, remove it quickly and properly to prevent infection as shown in this video from tick expert at the University of Manitoba.

This is best done by using finely-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. Pull it straight out, gently but firm. Then thoroughly clean the bite site with rubbing alcohol and/or soap and water.
If possible, place the live tick that was attached to the person into a screw-top bottle and take it to your health care provider or Health Unit office. Testing can be done for surveillance purposes to determine if the ticks in this area are the type that can carry Lyme disease.

Do You Know the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, tiredness and muscle and joint pains. A good indicator of Lyme disease is a skin rash in the shape of a bull’s eye. However, according to the Ontario Ministry of Health, the rash can take other shapes too.
Symptoms can occur as soon as three days or as long as a month after a tick bite. If you experience Lyme disease symptoms, seek medical attention. For more information on Lyme disease, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 or visit
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What do you know about Lyme Disease?
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