Halton Region Reminds Residents to Protect Themselves From Ticks and Lyme Disease
Residents, visitors, and travelers are being advised to exercise caution and be on the lookout for ticks while enjoying the outdoors in Ontario this summer.
If you find a tick “on yourself or a family member, remove it with fine-tip tweezers and submit it to us for identification and testing,” said Halton Region’s acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Daniela Kempkens.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by the black-legged tick.
Symptoms include a bullseye rash, extreme fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes.
While the risk of tick-borne diseases in Halton Region is low, residents can still contract the disease - particularly in risk areas - and need to know how to protect themselves from various tick-borne diseases, said Kempkens.
Halton’s health department runs the submit-a-tick program to help staff determine if ticks carrying Lyme disease become established in Halton Region.
“Working with the community, this program helps us assess the risk of tick-borne diseases in Halton and helps us take preventative actions if needed,” said Kempkens.
Residents taking part in outdoor activities in wooded, brushy or tall grass areas should be extra careful. The following locations are deemed high-risk:
- Long Point Provincial Park
- Pinery Provincial Park
- Point Pelee Provincial Park
- Rondeau Provincial Park
- Rouge Valley
- Turkey Point Provincial Park
- Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area
- Wainfleet Bog Conservation Area
- St. Lawrence Islands National Park
Residents can take these steps to protect themselves and their families from tick bites:
- Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly-woven fabric.
- Tuck your shirt into your pants and your pant legs into your socks to keep ticks away from your bare skin.
- Wear shoes that cover your entire foot, avoiding sandals or open shoes.
- Stay on trails and avoid tall, grassy areas.
- Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET or Icaridin.
- After finishing your outdoor activity, check your clothing and body for any ticks, especially around the groin, armpits and hairline.
- Check your pets regularly for ticks.
Halton Region serves more than 500,000 residents across Oakville, Burlington, Milton, and Halton Hills.
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