Lyme disease –is an infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Humans and animals can be infected through tick bites, but not all ticks can carry the bacteria causing Lyme disease – ONLY black legged or deer ticks.
Reported Cases of Lyme Disease in Ontario (2009 – 2012)
Signs of Lyme Disease
- If bitten by a tick, a small bump or redness at the site of a tick bite may occur immediately and resemble a mosquito bite. This irritation generally goes away in 1-2 days and is not a sign of Lyme disease.
- Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection. These include fever, rash, arthritis/joint swelling and facial paralysis.
- Seek medical attention if you observe any of these symptoms and have had a tick bite, live in an area known for Lyme disease, or have recently traveled to an area where Lyme disease occurs.
- When bitten the tick will embed its mouthparts into your skin. You can remove a tick that has latched onto you.
- Using clean tweezers, carefully grasp the tick as close to its head as possible, where it enters the skin. Pull slowly upward; try not to twist or crush the tick.
- If parts of the tick’s mouth break off and remain in your skin, remove them with tweezers. Visit your health care provider if you cannot remove:
- parts of the tick’s mouth in your skin
- the tick itself because it has buried itself deep into your skin
- Once the tick is removed, wash the area with soap and water, or disinfect the area with alcohol or hand sanitizer. Wash your hands with soap and water.
- If you are not comfortable with removing a tick, visit your health care provider as soon as possible.
- If you develop symptoms of Lyme disease after being bitten, contact your health care provider right away. Tell them:
- how long the tick was attached to you
- where you were when you were bitten by the tick
How can Lyme disease be prevented?
The best way to protect against Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites.
- wear closed-toe shoes, long-sleeved shirts and pants
- pull socks over pant legs
- wear light-coloured clothes to spot ticks easier
- use insect repellent containing DEET (active ingredient to keep bugs away) or Icaridin
- shower or bathe within 2 hours of being outdoors to wash away loose ticks
- do a daily “full-body” check for ticks on yourself, children and pets