Many Canadians are increasingly concerned about Lyme disease and the related increase in western blacklegged and blacklegged ticks, as a bite from an infected tick is one of the known causes of the disease. With cases of ticks on the rise this year, you’ll want to do everything you can to protect your family. The good news is that there are many things you can do both before and after a tick bite to keep your tick encounter from turning into anything more than a nuisance.
- Get informed. Both nymphs and adult ticks can attach to any part of the human body. They are often found in hard-to-see areas such as the groin, armpits and scalp. They are most likely to transmit infection after being attached for more than 24 hours of feeding because the bacteria requires time to migrate from the tick’s gut to its salivary glands. Prompt detection and removal of ticks is one of the key methods of preventing the disease.
- Take preventative measures. As Canadians become more aware of the risks posed by ticks, we are taking more preventative measures to safeguard ourselves. These include using a Deet or Icaridin-based repellant, checking for ticks more often and wearing the appropriate clothing that is loose but covers exposed skin.
- Use new technology. Adding to the prevention tools available is the new over-the-counter Care Plus Tick Test. Designed to test for the presence of the Borrelia bacteria known to cause Lyme disease. Within 10 minutes the test will show a negative or positive result with 95.8% accuracy. Each Care Plus tick test also includes a symptoms checklist.
“Lyme disease is serious and on the rise, so earlier is certainly better when it comes to detection, removal of the tick and treatment,” says Dr. Gio Miletto, director of the British Columbia-wide Travel Medicine and Vaccination Centre. “This self-administered test and the checklist help provide early information to you and your healthcare practitioner. While not a substitute for clinical advice, this test can help motivate people who otherwise might have waited to seek medical attention, especially if they have a positive result for bacteria in the tick.”
Learn more about ticks and how to prevent Lyme disease online at stopthetick.ca.