Ticks in Toronto: Tips to avoid Lyme disease this summer

Modesto Morganelli
Mag 18, 2019

Huron County Public Health officials are warning residents to protect themselves from ticks and mosquitos.

"Although we have seen an increase in tick populations in recent years, the overall risk of acquiring Lyme disease in Toronto is still considered low", said Dr. Eileen de Villa in a statement issued Thursday.

They are typically found in bushy or wooded areas, shrouded by fallen leafs or tall grass. These symptoms can be extremely debilitating because the disease, which is transmitted by ticks from the white-tailed deer and other mammals into the human bloodstream, attacks the heart and the nervous system.

Last year, the city found them in Anewan Greenbelt, Cedar Ridge Park, Colonel Danforth Trail, Doris McCarthy Trail, Guild Park and Gardens, Humberwood Park, Rouge Park, Sylvan Park, Toronto Islands, Upper Rouge Trail Park.

People can identify ticks online through the eTick website and submit a photo of the tick.

If you do find a tick on you, knowing how to remove it is the next step.

"If you have someone at home that can help you do a check, even better".

People should also do a tick check at the end of every day spent outside.

They'll often climb to a warm place like an underarm, the groin or hairline to start feeding on blood, she said.

"Get Tick Smart" signs have been posted in wooded areas where blacklegged tick populations are known to live, the city said.

A national survey the company did found that 76 per cent of people know how to identify and get rid of a tick.

"And when our funding is in jeopardy, those programs become at risk", Cressy said, referring to recently announced provincial cuts to TPH funding.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on Thursday reminded residents ready to head outdoors for activities such as hiking, camping and gardening to make sure to guard against Lyme disease. The symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue and a circular rash described by Toronto Public Health as a "bull's eye".

Symptoms of Lyme disease usually appear within one to two weeks after a tick bite, but could occur within days or as long as a month afterwards. Lyme can be treated with antibiotics if diagnosed early.

Using insect repellents that contain DEET or Icaridin, which should be applied to clothes as well as skin.

Doing a "full body" tick check after being outside on yourself, your children and your pets.

If you find a tick on you or your child: Remove it with fine-tipped tweezers don't squeeze or burn it off, grabbing it as close to the skin as possible, pulling it away gently but firmly. Place the tick in a container and bring it to your healthcare provider or the Huron County Health Unit for identification and testing if needed.

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