Disease carrying ticks are spreading across Ontario. Here's how to protect yourself

Disease carrying ticks are spreading across Ontario. Here's how to protect yourself

There are three types of ticks that are found in Toronto, however only the blacklegged tick can transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

Huron County Public Health officials are warning residents to protect themselves from ticks and mosquitos.

"The overall risk of acquiring Lyme disease in Toronto is considered relatively low but it is increased if you are doing activities in wooded and bushy areas in eastern parts of Toronto such as around the Rouge Valley", she said.

"Over the past five years, we have seen an increase in the number of black-legged ticks found due to dragging and this increase is mostly like due to climate change".

Staff located two ticks, an adult male and female, just off a grassy picnic area in Morningside Park.

"Infected ticks can be found nearly anywhere in Ontario, particularly in wooded areas or areas with tall grasses and bushes (including city gardens and parks)", they added.

Ontario encouraged residents to avoid deer ticks.

People should also check their entire body for ticks after being outside and have a shower as soon as they get indoors.

Last year, the city found them in Anewan Greenbelt, Cedar Ridge Park, Colonel Danforth Trail, Doris McCarthy Trail, Guild Park and Gardens, Humberwood Park, Rouge Park, Sylvan Park, Toronto Islands, Upper Rouge Trail Park.

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They can be the size of a poppy seed right up to pea size, but not all black-legged ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease.

"If you have someone at home that can help you do a check, even better".

People should also do a tick check at the end of every day spent outside.

Ticks are potential transmitters of Lyme Disease at any point in their lives except the larval stage. In Ontario on Thursday, Toronto Public Health held a press conference on programs to identify ticks with Lyme disease. Ticks are not usually found on well-kept lawns, sports fields or paved roads.

"Now that warmer weather is finally here, more Ontarians will be enjoying time outside", Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care said.

Symptoms of Lyme disease include a fever and chills, headaches, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, a stiff neck, and a circular rash, also known as a bull's eye rash.

Treatment success: Usually successful if treated early.

Navarro said that residents can prevent tick bites by using insect repellants that contain DEET or icaridin or wearing long trousers and long sleeves when in wooded areas.

"If you find blacklegged ticks on your body, remove them as soon as possible with tweezers and clean the area with soap and water. If you have any concerns after a tick bite, consult a health care provider", the statement added.

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