Ticks can emerge strongly with warm weather here

By Carl Clutchey
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Chronicle-Journal
Forestry - Tree Bark

Don’t want to feel ticked off after a hike in the woods? Then avoid being bitten by a tick, health officials advise.

A Ministry of Health bulletin last week noted that deer ticks, technically known as black-legged ticks, come out in full force as temperatures rise.

Deer ticks are of particular concern because they can infect people with Lyme disease, which can cause rashes, joint pain and swelling.

“If you have any symptoms such as fever, headache, chills, muscle and joint pain, fatigue and an expanding circular rash that resembles a bulls-eye, consult a health-care provider as soon as possible,” the bulletin advises.

It added: “Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics, and pharmacists have (since 2023) been able to prescribe medication to treat tick bites.”

Ticks can be hard to detect because they are tiny and their bite is not often felt. Some experts have linked the rise in tick populations to a warming climate and mild winters.

“Black-legged ticks are continuing to spread to new areas of the province,” the health bulletin said. They can also be found in urban areas where there are bushes and long grass.

Tips to avoid having a tick attach itself include wearing light-coloured clothing so they can be spotted more easily, and tucking long pants into socks so that skin is not exposed. Sandals and other open-toed shoes should be avoided, the health bulletin said.

For identification, photos of ticks can be sent to the etick.ca website supported by various provinces and Canadian universities.

Ontario’s Ministry of Health recommends that those who come in contact with ticks notify their public health unit so that areas where ticks have been found in large numbers can be recorded.