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Fight the Bite

Gardening, hiking, the sun and the warm, fresh air - it's good for your physical health and your mental wellbeing. But with the good comes a downside: the outdoors carry some risks for diseases carried by bugs that bite. Keep enjoying your favourite outdoor activities but take precautions.

 
  • Remove all standing water from your property (bird baths, eaves, wheelbarrows).
  • Use an approved personal repellent (never an insecticide on your body) and follow manufacturer instructions.
  • Cover up in loose, light-coloured clothing and long pants.
  • Do a full body check of yourself, children and pets, if you find a tick remove it immediately.

Quick removal of ticks from your skin will help prevent infection. Don't put anything on the tick, or try to burn the tick off.

  • Don't squeeze it. Squeezing the tick can cause the Lyme disease bacteria to be accidentally introduced into your body.
  • Using fine-tipped tweezers, carefully grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. Pull it straight out, gently but firmly.
  • After the tick has been removed, place it in a screw-top bottle or a sealed bag (like a pill vial or sandwich bag).
  • Clean the bite with rubbing alcohol and/or soap and water.

We are urging everyone to follow physical distancing recommendations and follow public health measures, so we can flatten the curve of COVID-19. Therefore, we will no longer be accepting ticks for submission. To identify the tick:

  • Submit a picture of the tick to eTick.ca, a free public platform for image-based tick identification. The website is best viewed with Chrome, Safari, or Firefox. If you cannot access eTick.ca, your health care provider may be able to submit the tick on your behalf.
  • If through eTick, the tick has been identified as a blacklegged (Ixodes scapularis) tick, please contact your health care provider, particularly if you are feeling unwell. It is important to remember where you most likely acquired the tick. 
  • If needed, your health care provider can submit the tick to the Public Health Ontario Laboratory for confirmation and subsequent bacterial testing by the National Microbiology Laboratory. Note that this process may take weeks to months. Please fill out the form online, print, and bring the form with the tick to your physician.
  • Speak to your health care provider about what next steps to take, if any, for your health.

Both Lyme disease and WNv can cause flu-like symptoms that begin with:

  • headaches
  • achy muscles and joints
  • fatigue and;
  • fever.

Lyme disease often comes with the warning of a bulls-eye rash at the site of the bite.

CDC/ James Gathany

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