Here’s what you need to know about ticks, Lyme disease, and how to protect yourself:
What are ticks?
Ticks are classified as arachnids. They have eight legs and feed off the blood of humans and animals in order to survive. Ticks, blacklegged ticks in particular, are very small with the adult females measuring approximately 3-5mm in length before feeding. The males are slightly smaller than the females and do not feed off blood.
Ticks are most often found in forests or grassy areas and are most active during the spring and summer months. They don’t jump, fly, or drop. Instead, they reach out with their legs and crawl onto a host. Unfortunately, ticks are transmitters of Lyme disease for humans and animals. (1)
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. It is transmitted by an infected tick to their hosts through a bite. These bites are often painless and typically go unnoticed by the host. (2)
What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?
Early symptoms may include:
Rash – sometimes shaped like a bull’s eye
Muscle and joint aches
Swollen lymph nodes
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, these early symptoms typically appear about 3-30 days after being bitten by an infected blacklegged tick. If left untreated, more severe symptoms such as severe headaches, heart disorders, facial paralysis may occur. To learn more about additional symptoms, click here. (3)
How can I protect myself?
If possible, avoid forests and overgrown grassy areas where ticks are most often found. If you are traveling through these environments, take the following precautions to avoid tick bites:
– Wear protective clothing: long-sleeved shirts and pants, and closed-toe shoes.
– Tuck pant legs into socks to limit tick access to your skin.
– Use DEET or Icaridin based insect repellents on your skin and clothing (be sure to always read and follow product labels).
– PiACTIVE™ insect repellent is an Icaridin based insect repellent offering up to 12 hours of protection from ticks and mosquitoes, and 10 hours of protection from black flies. Icaridin is a trusted, effective and long-lasting active that is recommended by the World Health Organization. This product can be used by anybody 6 months and older. Learn more here.
– The Mosquito Shield™ insect repellent line offers a variety of DEET based repellents that protect against ticks, mosquitoes, and various other insects. With formulations ranging from 5% – 30% DEET (maximum allowable by Health Canada), there are effective insect repellent options for children and adults alike. Learn more here.
Daily Body Checks
– Inspect your body as well as your children and pets to ensure no ticks are attached to the skin after walking in forests and overgrown grassy areas.
Wash and Dry
– Shower within 2 hours of being outdoors to wash away any possible loose ticks.
– Inspect your clothing. If any ticks are found, put your clothing into a dryer on high heat for 60+ minutes to eliminate them. (4)
What to do if you find a tick on yourself?
– Using clean tweezers, firmly grab the tick head as close to the skin as you can and slowly pull the entire tick straight out.
– Do your best to avoid squeezing and crushing the tick’s body.
– Once you have completed this step, wash the area of the tick bite with a disinfectant.
– Be sure to monitor yourself for signs/symptoms of Lyme disease after tick removal. If you begin to feel unwell, contact your doctor or health care provider immediately. (1)
– Note: Removing a tick that was attached to your skin for less than 24 hours makes your chance of contracting Lyme disease extremely small. (5)
Check out our blog post “Strip and Search Me…Please!” for the story of our very own encounter with ticks.
KUUS Inc. is Canada’s specialist in premium insect repellents and insecticides. Since 2003, we’ve developed leading brands like Knock Down™, Mosquito Shield™ and PiACTIVE™ – each helping to protect against, deter, and eliminate unwanted pests. Visit www.kuusinc.com for more.