NO TICK IS A GOOD TICK, all species of ticks that will attach to humans and pets can carry various diseases.
May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Canada. It gives us a chance to remind and educate others about the disease and how to avoid it. Ticks aren’t going to give us a break this year just because of COVID-19. We encourage you advocate for change and raise awareness levels.
Some of things you might do even with physical distancing are to write an article for the local paper or get your story on T.V. or in the press. You might ask your provincial, town or municipal government to make a proclamation about this ignored pandemic. Do whatever you can to persuade people that this is a disease of consequence.
As regulations ease up on COVID-19 and bored people get out for walks, social distancing and masks are still important. What we do not want is someone fighting COVID-19 and a tick-borne infection at the same time.
Carry your tick removal kit with you.
Prevention is vital and always better than treatment. The ticks aren’t everywhere but they can be anywhere in Canada where songbirds fly. Review Lyme prevention information, or more detailed information here. Although it says for Nova Scotians it applies across the country. You can also view a YouTube video of much the same information here: Tick Bite Prevention –for adults and older kids, Faces of Lyme Lunenburg.
For an interesting view of how a community at the epicentre of the Lyme disease epidemic in Canada you might enjoy this documentary: Faces of Lyme: Ambivalence & Controversy, Lunenburg Doc Fest.
Avoid being bitten by understanding the enemy and its habits. Stick to the centre of trails and avoid the tall damp understory of weeds, grasses and shrubs. Don’t count on any one thing. None of the repellents work perfectly well against ticks. We prefer the ones that are recognized and long lasting such as Icaridin (‘Woods’ spray Canadian Tire) or Picaridin which are pleasant and oil free or products with 25% Deet. The best protection comes from wearing long sleeved shirts and full-length pants tucked into socks that have been treated with permethrin along with a recognized repellent for exposed skin. An ounce of permethrin is equal to a pound of antibiotics. See the link above for prevention for Nova Scotians for more details.
Prompt and thorough tick checks are always required soon after coming indoors. A shower can help knock ticks off before they have had a chance to start feeding. Putting your outdoor clothes immediately into the dryer for 15 minutes on high heat will kill any hitchhiking ticks that have come in on your clothing. Remember they can be very hard to spot.
Enjoy the outdoors while keeping yourself and your pets safe!