Steps you can take to protect your family.
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid being bitten by a tick. Follow these tips when heading outside in areas where ticks can be found:
- Use bug spray with DEET or icaridin (always follow directions).
- Wear closed-toe shoes, long sleeves and pants.
- Tuck your shirt into your pants, and your pants into your socks.
- Walk on paths.
- Do a daily full body tick check on yourself, your children, your pets and your gear.
- Shower or bathe within two hours of being outdoors.
- Put your clothes in a dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes.
What to do if you’re bitten
- Use clean tweezers to immediately remove attached ticks:
- Grasp the tick’s head as close to your skin as possible.
- Slowly pull it straight out.
- If parts of the tick’s mouth break off and remain in your skin, remove them with the tweezers.
- If you can’t remove the mouthparts, leave them alone, and let your skin heal.
- Wash the bite area thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Contact your health care provider if you’re not feeling well or if you are concerned after being bitten by a tick.
- Keep the tick in a closed container and bring it with you if you go see a health professional.
Early detection is key
The identification of Lyme disease in its early stages is very important. In most cases, if caught early, Lyme disease can be treated effectively with antibiotics. Symptoms typically occur 3 to 30 days after you’ve been bitten. They can differ from person to person and could include any of the following:
- Rash (sometimes shaped like a bull’s eye)
- Aching muscles and joints
- Swollen lymph nodes
More severe symptoms (experienced weeks to months after a tick bite, if untreated) could include but are not limited to:
- Severe headaches
- New skin rashes
- Facial paralysis (such as Bell’s palsy)
- Irregular heart beat
- Joint pain
- Nervous system disorders (such as dizziness, mental confusion or inability to think clearly, and memory loss, nerve pain, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet)
Contact a health professional if you’re not feeling well or are concerned after being bitten by a tick.
Source: Public Health Agency of Canada