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Lyme Disease and Blacklegged Ticks

CDC/ James GathanyAn infected blacklegged tick can spread Lyme disease to humans through a bite.

Blacklegged ticks are often found in forests and overgrown areas with long grass such as fields and trails. If you are an outdoor worker, participate in outdoor activities - such as hiking and camping - in wooded and over grown areas, you could be at risk of a tick bite.

However, tick bites ARE preventable

Click on the headings below for tips on how to reduce your risk of a tick bite and instructions on what to do if you find a tick on you. 

Protect yourself from tick bites
  • Wear light weight clothes and long shirts and pants and closed-toe shoes
  • If you wear light coloured clothing, it will be easier to spot a hitchhiking tick
  • Use DEET personal insect repellent (to apply follow manufacturers recommendations)
  • When you return from being outdoors:
    • Do a full body check of yourself and children and pets and if you find a tick remove it (see below)
    • shower or bath within 2 hours to wash away any loose ticks
What to do if you find a tick on you or another person?
  • Quick removal of ticks from your skin will help prevent infection, since transmission of the Lyme disease agent usually needs the tick to be attached for more than 24 hours.
  • Using fine-tipped tweezers, carefully grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. Pull it straight out, gently but firmly.
  • Don't squeeze it. Squeezing the tick can cause the Lyme disease agent to be accidentally introduced into your body.
  • Don't put anything on the tick, or try to burn the tick off.
  • After the tick has been removed, place it in screw-top bottle or a sealed bag (like a pill vial or Ziploc bag), and take it to your doctor or local health unit. They can send it to the Ontario Public Health Laboratory for identification. Establishing the type of tick may help to assess your risk of acquiring Lyme disease.
  • It is important to remember where you most likely acquired the tick. It will help public health workers to identify areas of higher risk.
  • Thoroughly cleanse the bite site with rubbing alcohol and/or soap and water.
Remove tick living areas from your property

By removing tick "living" areas around your home is key in protecting you and your family.

  • keep your grass mowed and trimmed
  • rake and remove piles of leaves, brush and weeds from your lawn and lawn ornaments
  • move woodpiles and bird feeders away from the house
  • keep your pets out of the woods and talk to your vet about tick repellents for your pets
  • do not place swing sets, sandboxes or patios near the edge of property where there are overgrown areas or forests
How to submit a tick for testing

Most tick bites are painless. The majority of bites will not result in disease because most ticks are not infected with the bacteria responsible for causing Lyme disease.

If you find a tick bring to your local health unit. To speed up the drop-off process you may fill out the form online, print and bring in with the tick. Following your submission a health unit staff member will contact you to go over the form.

For questions about the health unit's tick submission process:

Symptoms of Lyme disease and treatment

For symptoms common with Lyme Disease see the Government of Canada's  information.

For treatment options with Lyme Disease see the Government of Canada's information.

Tick and Lyme disease resources
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