Visit the Ottawa Public Health website for further information. The information below was obtained from the OPH website on June 7, 2017
Lyme disease and ticks
Lyme disease is an important health concern in many parts of Canada and is spread by the bite of blacklegged ticks infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Most people are infected with Lyme disease through the bite of an immature tick called a nymph.
The blacklegged tick that carries the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease is present in the Ottawa area, across Eastern Ontario, and the Outaouais region of Quebec. Ottawa is now considered an at-risk area for Lyme disease.
Populations of blacklegged ticks are growing and expanding into new areas. This means that the risk of contracting Lyme disease is on the rise across Canada. Though ticks can be found almost anywhere outdoors, they are often found in tall grasses, bushes wooded and forested areas.
Ottawa Public Health recommends practicing these simple steps to help minimize exposure to ticks, and help you enjoy the outdoors safely:
- Apply a Health Canada approved mosquito repellent containing DEET or icaridin (link is external) to exposed skin and clothing
- Wear long pants, a long sleeved shirt, shoes and socks to cover exposed skin
- Tuck your pants into your socks
- Wear light coloured clothing to spot ticks easier
- If possible, stay on the trails when hiking in the woods or walking in long grass
- Do a “full body” check on yourself, your children, and pets for ticks. Pay careful attention around your toes, knees, groin, armpits and scalp.
Blacklegged ticks are very small and not easy to see which is why you should perform a full body check on yourself, your children and your pets after being outdoors. The sooner ticks are removed from the body the less likely they are to spread Lyme disease.
What if I find a tick?
Remove it as soon as possible using the technique below. The risk of getting Lyme disease increases with the length of time the tick remains attached to your body.
Contact your doctor if you believe a tick has bitten you, so that your doctor can determine if you need antibiotics.
Be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of Lyme disease for the next 30 days. If you are concerned then consult your health care provider.
Learn more at the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation and the International Lyme Disease Society
- Use tweezers or a “Tick Key”
- Grasp the tick's head as close to the skin as possible and pull slowly until the tick is removed. Do not twist or rotate the tick. Do not use a match, lotion or anything else on the tick.
- Wash the bite site with soap and water
- If the tick has bitten a human, and you would like to get it tested as part of Ottawa Public Health’s tick monitoring, you can find more testing information at this link.
- If you don’t want to have the tick tested, you can dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet