Reduce your risk of Lyme disease while outdoors this summer


(NC) Most of us can’t wait for spring. As soon as the sun shines and the temperature starts to climb, we want to be outdoors with our family and friends. But spending time outside can put us in contact with ticks that can carry Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is spread through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick, which can be found almost anywhere in Ontario. So with the warmer weather here, it’s important to remember to take precautions to reduce contact with ticks when venturing out to hike, camp or garden.

If you’re living in, or visiting, wooded areas with tall grass and bushes or moist environments, make sure you take the following precautions:

  • Stay on marked trails where possible.
  • Wear long sleeves, pants, socks and closed shoes.
  • Tuck pants into socks.
  • Wear light-coloured clothing to make ticks more visible.
  • Use insect repellent with DEET or icaridin on clothes and exposed skin.
  • Check your body thoroughly for ticks after being outdoors — promptly removing ticks can help prevent infection.

Ticks are opportunists and will hitch a ride on our pets putting your family at risk. Check your pets for ticks daily and talk with your vet about keeping your pet protected.

Left untreated, Lyme disease can cause serious health problems. An infection can lead to recurring arthritis, neurological problems, numbness and paralysis. If you experience symptoms like a skin rash, headache, fever, muscle or joint pain after a tick bite, consult a healthcare professional.

Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics when caught early. Learn how to protect yourself by talking with your healthcare provider or local public health unit, and visiting …