10 Questions About Tick Safety I Often Get As A Doctor

Ticks seem to be everywhere these days. They’re on the news, on your social media feed and maybe even on your skin. People, especially those in southern Canada, are dealing with blacklegged ticks (also called deer ticks) with increasing frequency.

Found in southwestern and eastern Ontario, as well as parts of British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia, blacklegged ticks can cause Lyme disease, an infectious disease spread by tick bites.

In 2015, there were more than 900 cases of Lyme disease reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada; an increase from roughly 144 in 2009. Lyme disease isn’t the only harmful bacteria these parasitic arachnids can carry. Borrelia miyamotoi, which causes similar symptoms to Lyme disease, and the Powassan (POW) virus are also causes for concern.

The good news is that you can learn to protect yourself from tick bites. All you need are the facts, and you can continue to enjoy the outdoors — tick-free. Here are a few questions that I often get about tick safety:

1. Are ticks common or rare?

It’s difficult to say, as they often have patchy distribution — sometimes you may find many; other times you may go weeks or months without seeing any. If you are bushwhacking in places where there are deer, then your chances of seeing them increase.

2. How dangerous are ticks?

Ticks themselves are not dangerous, but they can carry various bacterial diseases that are harmful to humans.

3. Can I use DEET or mosquito spray to keep them away?

DEET is somewhat effective at repelling ticks. It is safer to wear long sleeves and pants, and to keep loose clothing tucked in to provide a physical barrier.

4. Can ticks get carried into my vehicle? Can they get caught in my tent and brought home with me?

To both of the above — absolutely! If a tick hitches a ride on you, it will often wander around on clothing and skin for some time, looking for the perfect place to have supper. During this time, it may get brushed off, or wander onto your vehicle’s upholstery or onto something in your tent. Ticks can even survive a cold laundry wash and can end up anywhere in your home. The best way to avoid these scenarios is by brushing off all of your gear before you head home. This is a good way to help stop the spread

Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel

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