Summertime is finally here in Montreal! The days are getting warmer, the pools are open, sports cars are out, terraces buzzing with people, oh… and the ticks are biting! Not to worry, we have some helpful information to guide you this summer:
The medical concern regarding ticks is in their ability to transmit Lyme disease, an infectious condition. While in Quebec, there has been a significant increase in reported cases of Lyme disease since 2011, you would be happy to hear that the number of cases in fact decreased from 2017 to 2018!
Ticks that transmit Lyme disease in Quebec are known as “deer ticks” or “blacklegged ticks”. These ticks could be as small as a poppy seed or pencil point, and grow to be as large as pea or almond.
They live primarily in humid places such as wooded areas, forests, tall grass, gardens, and in piles of dead leaves. Ticks do not jump, do not fly, and do not drop from a height!
If you spot a tick on your skin – it is possible to remove it – and the proper technique involves:
– Using fine tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible
– Pull backwards, gently, do not jerk or twist
– Do not squeeze, crush, or puncture the body of the tick
– After removing the tick, wash your skin and hands thoroughly with soap and water
Tick removal kits can also be bought at most home hardware and camping stores.
Call your Doctor if:
– The tick might have been on your skin for MORE than 24 hours
– Part of the tick remains in your skin
– A rash of any kind develops, especially a red-ringed Bulls-Eye rash or red dots on your wrists and ankles
– The bite area looks infected (increasing warmth, swelling, pain or puss)
– If you develop a fever, headache, tiredness, stiff neck, muscle or joint aches
Some ways to avoid tick bites include:
– Walk on trails and avoid tall grass
– Use insect repellant on every exposed part of your body (except the face)
– Tuck your shirt into your pants (and your pants into your socks)
– Try to take a bath or shower after outdoor activities to remove ticks not solidly attached to the skin.
– Wear bright-coloured clothing during your walks (like Dr. Oommen’s favorite: ORANGE) as it will help better identify ticks on your self.
So whatever your plans are this summer – we hope you have fun, and stay safe!