Ticks and Lyme Disease… What You Need to Know


from the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

If bitten by a tick you may be at risk of getting Lyme disease. Taking the following precautions will help to reduce your risk:

  • Dressing in light coloured clothing makes adult ticks and nymphs (small stage of the tick), easier to see when they are on you as they are darker in colour.
  • Always remember to do a tick check when you return inside.
  • Thoroughly check your body for ticks and nymphs and promptly remove and dispose of them. If possible have someone check you from behind.
  • You can take a quick shower to help remove any unattached ticks.
  • Putting your clothes in a hot dryer for several minutes has been found to kill ticks.

It is important to know that not all ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Lyme disease transmission depends on the length of time the infected tick is attached. Ticks that are removed quickly and have been attached for less than 24 hours are not likely to transfer the bacteria. However if the tick has been attached for longer than 24 hours you may be at an increased risk and it is recommended that you consult your health care provider. If you find a tick on your body, check to see if it flat or fat. A fat tick is an indication that it has been feeding for a longer period of time.

Tick specimens are not used for diagnosis of disease so they are no longer accepted at the Health Unit.

Lyme disease symptoms can range from a bulls eye rash around the bite area, to headache, fever and muscle/joint pain. Symptoms can appear from 3 days to several weeks following a tick bite. Consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

For more information about ticks and Lyme disease, visit our Insect Bites and Diseases section of our website. Call 1-800-660-5853. Email us at contact@heathunit.org.

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