Deer ticks can be vectors for Lyme Disease. The great outdoors is a refuge. Getting outside for some exercise is one of the few activities still permitted amid the current provincial shut downs. But as the warmer temperatures return, so does the hazard posed by ticks. Ticks are out already.There are a lot of people finding ticks on themselves and their pets as they're out and enjoying the trails.
Ticks can be anywhere, including backyards. Usually, they hang out on top of long grass or in the bushes, and as people or animals walk by they jump onto them and bite — often without the victim even knowing it.
Therefore, It's really important that when you come back in, you just do a full body check to make sure you or your pets don't have any ticks on them. Ticks can spread disease through their bites. One tick in particular, the blacklegged or deer tick, spreads Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
The tell-tale sign is a bullseye-shaped rash. Symptoms of Lyme disease, whick usually appear between 3 to 30 days after a bite, include fever, chills, fatigue and muscle pain. Lyme disease can potentially harm systems the heart, nerves and liver. Symptoms from untreated Lyme disease can last years and include recurring arthritis and neurological problems, numbness, paralysis and, in very rare cases, death.
Most tick that carry Lyme disease in BC are found in southwestern BC, including Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast, Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
Only about 1% of ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. They can be found year-round but they are most likely to bite from March to June.
To protect yourself from ticks: walk on cleared trails, wear light coloured clothing so you can see them, tuck your pants into your socks or boots, check for ticks once you return home. If you find a tick, remove it immediately, check children, pets and outdoor gear, put clothing in a hot dryer for 10 minutes to kill any possible ticks.
When removing a tick make sure you remove all its parts. If it hasn’t burrowed completely you can remove it yourself. If it has buried itself deep into your skin, it’s a good idea to get it removed by a doctor.
You can get a tick tested for Lyme disease, but it will cost you money unless it is submitted by a physician.
Enjoy our beautiful trails, but when you are out there stay out of high grass and keep your pets out of it too.