COURTNEY McCLURE, for The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: There is a temporary suspension on tick submissions, regarding Lyme disease, to the Durham Region Health Department. They are currently not accepting ticks for testing or identification.
If you find a tick crawling on yourself or a family member, call the Durham Region Health Department. Afterwards you will receive a call from a public health inspector who will tell you what to do.
Whenever you return from a walk in the woods, check vital areas for ticks. For example, on your calves and scalp. Make sure to check your pets as well.
According to the Durham Region website, the only tick in Ontario which can spread Lyme disease is the black-legged tick. Lyme disease cannot be transmitted from person-to-person like the common cold.
You can typically find black-legged ticks near or inside forested areas. Places like Durham Forest or other walking trails are likely to have ticks present off the outlined trails.
Specifically, black-legged ticks are found in piles of leaves laying on the ground, in bushes, and in tall grass. Black-legged ticks are small, immature ticks about the size of a poppy seed. However, most adult ticks grow to about the size of a sesame seed. Ticks cannot jump or fly, so they climb onto blades of grass or bushes they can reach. Then, they wait for their host, a person or an animal, to walk by and attach themselves.
Early signs of Lyme disease include the following: fever, discomfort, and fatigue. These aren’t the only signs of Lyme disease, however.
If Lyme disease is left untreated, more severe symptoms may occur. Sever symptoms include, facial paralysis, heart palpitations and other cardiac issues, and neurological symptoms like dizziness.
If you experience any of these symptoms or think you may have Lyme disease, contact the nearest medical professional right away. Two ways you can protect yourself from possible ticks and Lyme disease infection are, wearing long sleeves and long pants while walking in forested areas. You can also apply insect repellent containing DEET to your clothing, but make sure to read and follow the product label before applying. In addition, wearing light coloured clothing makes ticks easier to spot, if they do attach themselves to your body.
After walking on a trail, make sure to check yourself, children, and pets for possible ticks. If you find a tick, remove it as soon as possible.
For more information about ticks in North Durham and how to remove them, and Lyme disease, visit the Durham Region website. You can find more information beneath the health and wellness menu, where Lyme disease is listed in Illness, Infection and Disease.