Warmer weather brings with it barbecues, camping and sunny days on the water. It also increases the activity of ticks, especially near wooded areas.
Ticks are a concern because of the increase in the number of cases of Lyme disease and risk of other tick-borne disease in Canada each year. It’s essential to take steps to protect yourself by using bug spray and doing regular tick checks after spending time outdoors.
If you do get bitten by a tick, it’s important to remove it right away to reduce your chances of getting infected. Here are simple steps to follow that are recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada for safe tick removal.
- Using clean tweezers, grasp the head as close to the skin as possible and slowly pull straight out. Try not to twist or crush the tick. Visit your healthcare professional immediately if you are not comfortable with removing a tick or you cannot remove it yourself.
- If the mouth parts break off and remain in the skin, remove them with tweezers or, if you are unable to remove them easily, leave them alone and let the skin heal. Consult your healthcare professional.
- Wash the bite area and yours hands with soap and water or disinfect with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Try to save the tick in a sealed container and record the date of the bite. Bring it to your medical appointment as it may help your healthcare professional assess you.
- Do not apply lotions, creams or nail polish to the tick or try to burn the tick off, as this may increase the risk of infection. If you feel unwell or are concerned about your health following a tick bite, contact your healthcare professional.