“Although the majority of ticks identified in Elgin County are dog ticks, residents should take precautions to protect themselves while outdoors”, says Dr. Joyce Lock, Medical Officer of Health.
Elgin St. Thomas Public Health conducts surveillance activities to monitor the presence of Lyme Disease in Elgin County. Ticks that have been attached to humans can be submitted to the Health Unit for identification and, if determined to be a deer tick, will be sent for further testing for the presence of the Lyme Disease.
The best way to protect yourself from Lyme disease is to avoid tick bites. Ticks are often found in areas with tall grass, marshlands and bushes where they attach themselves to people who walk by. They cannot fly or jump.
Steps to avoid bites include:
- Wearing long sleeves, pants tucked into socks, and fully-closed boots or shoes when walking in grassy or wooded areas
- Wearing light coloured clothes to make ticks easier to see
- Using a bug repellent with DEET (always read and follow the label)
- Doing a “Tick Check” after walks: shower and towel off to remove loose ticks, then check body for any ticks
If you find a tick on you, remove it carefully:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers and grab the tick as close to the skin as possible.
- Pull it straight out without squeezing the tick
- Clean the bite with rubbing alcohol and/or soap and water
- Collect the tick in a screw-top bottle and call the Health Unit for advice