As summer has faded away and cooler weather arrives, there are some minor pitfalls…and those pitfalls involve bugs.
Especially bugs that can carry harmful diseases.
The Region of Peel is reminding residents that they can take steps to reduce their exposure to ticks potentially infected with Lyme disease.
Seasonally cooler weather is forecast for the remainder of October, but blacklegged tick populations are still active. Public health monitoring of ticks has identified established blacklegged tick populations in Mississauga and southern Brampton.
However, since ticks travel with migratory birds, everyone in Peel should take steps to reduce their risk of being bitten.
“Cases of Lyme disease remain relatively uncommon in Peel, ” said Dr. Lawrence Loh, the associate Medical Officer of Health at Peel Public Health. “But for those enjoying some time outdoors, it would be wise to take a few minutes to learn how to protect themselves against possible exposure to blacklegged ticks that might carry the disease.”
Prevent tick bites with these tips:
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin to skin and clothing.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts that fit tightly around the wrist and long-legged pants tucked into socks or shoes or boots.
- Wear light-coloured clothing to make it easier to see if ticks land on clothing.
- Check regularly for ticks and remove attached ticks immediately.
Lyme disease is typically contracted only through the bite of a blacklegged tick followed by prolonged attachment of around two days, but the region states that not all ticks or bites are automatically a risk.
After exposure, symptoms of Lyme disease can arise between three and 30 days and include rash, fever, chills, headache and fatigue.
If you have been bitten by a tick, you may drop it off at one of the three locations listed below. Blacklegged ticks will be sent for testing for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease in order to understand the presence of the disease in Peel.
Service Peel, 7120 Hurontario St., Mississauga – Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Town of Caledon, Administration Building, 6311 Old Church Rd., Caledon East – Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Service Peel, 10 Peel Centre Dr., Brampton – 905-799-7700 – Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
If you cannot avoid exposure to tick habitats or frequent outdoor locations and activities, you can avoid bites and risk of infection by:
- Checking your body for ticks and removing attached ticks as soon as possible.
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts that fit tightly around the wrist and long pants tucked into socks.
- Using insect repellent containing DEET on skin and clothing.
- Showering or bathing within two hours of being outdoors to wash away loose ticks.