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Everything About Lyme Disease and How to Eliminate Ticks from Your Home

Lyme disease (often incorrectly spelled as Lime Disease, Limes Disease or Lymes Disease) caused by the bacteria named Borrelia burgdorferi which can be transmitted when a Deer Tick (also known as a Black-legged tick) bites a human or animal. Black-legged ticks are hard-bodied and often mistaken for brown dog ticks; they are a vector for several diseases including Lyme disease. Symptoms of Lyme Disease can develop anywhere from 3-30 days after a bite and symptoms can be wide ranging depending on the stage of infection.

Early symptoms include fever, headache, and fatigue. Untreated or even treated Lyme disease symptoms may spread to other parts of the body and result in muscle, joint, heart and nervous system abnormalities. These are life-threatening reactions, and a medical professional must be contacted for treatment. Black-legged ticks must be attached to you for at least 24 hours to transmit Lyme disease.

Lyme Disease Symptoms

People with Lyme disease often see symptoms within 1-2 weeks, but in some cases, no symptoms will appear for weeks. If Lyme Disease goes untreated symptoms can last anywhere from months to years.  

Common Lyme Disease symptoms include:

  • Fever and Chills
  • Headache
  • Skin rash
  • muscle and joint pain
  • spasms, numbness or tingling
  • facial paralysis
  • fatigue
  • swollen glands

Rare Lyme Disease symptoms can include:

  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • mental confusion or inability to think clearly
  • nervous system disorders

You may experience symptoms that last months to years after treatment known as (PTLDS)

Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Mental confusion or inability to think clearly

See your health provider right away if you develop symptoms of Lyme disease in the weeks after a tick bite.Tell them of any symptoms and if you participated in outdoor activities in at-risk areas.

What are the Risks of Lyme Disease? 

Danger of getting a bite from a tick starts when the weather warms up and through the summer months. Blacklegged ticks often found in forests, woods or dense areas.

Who is at risk?

If you work outside, you may be at greater risk for tick bites. People who also participate in outdoor activities are also at increased risk including:

  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Golfing

Where are you at risk?

Wherever black-legged ticks are most found:

  • Southern British Columbia
  • Southeastern and Southcentral Manitoba
  • Southern Quebec
  • Southern New Brunswick and Grand Manan Island
  • Parts of Nova Scotia
  • Southern, Eastern, and Northwestern Ontario

Infected ticks commonly found in these areas in Ontario:

  • Long Point Provincial Park on the northwest shore of Lake Erie
  • Turkey Point Provincial Park on the northwest shore of Lake Erie
  • Rondeau Provincial Park on the north shore of Lake Erie
  • Point Pelee National Park on north shore of Lake Erie
  • Pinery Provincial Park on the southeast shore of Lake Huron
  • Rouge Valley/Rouge Park on east side of Greater Toronto Area
  • Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area on northeast shore of Lake Ontario
  • Wainfleet Bog Conservation Area on the Niagara Peninsula

What are the causes of Lyme Disease? 

Lyme disease caused by a type of bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi. There are two types of ticks in Canada that spread Lyme disease the first being Western Blacklegged Tick in British Columbia and the Blacklegged tick found in Ontario, Quebec and throughout Eastern Canada. Ticks become infected with Lyme disease from feeding on an animal with the virus, including deer, rodents, and birds.Ticks can spread the bacteria to humans through bites, ticks are tiny, and their bites are often painless therefore bites can go unnoticed. People can spread Lyme disease to each other; pets can also spread the infection to humans.

How Can I Prevent Lyme Disease? 

The best way to protect against Lyme disease is to avoid tick bites and areas or activities that will put you in areas with large populations of ticks.The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent/avoid tick bites by:

Cover Up:

Your clothing will act as a layer of protection:

  • Light coloured clothing to spot ticks
  • Wear long sleeve Shirt/jacket tucked into pants
    • Tuck pants into socks
  • Socks and closed footwear

Insect Repellent:

There are topical insect repellents that can be applied to the skin to reduce and give short-term protection against irritation. DEET is sometimes used to repel mosquitoes but should not come into contact with the person, only on clothing where it cannot touch the skin.

Double Check Yourself:

When you have left in the area where Blacklegged ticks live, check and recheck for safety:

  • Pay close attention to areas such as your scalp, ankles, armpits, groin, navel and your knees and ears
  • Use mirror to check that back of your body or get someone else to check

When you have double checked yourself make sure to check others, especially children.

Wash & Dry:

After an outdoor activity you can wash and dry clothes thoroughly:

  • Place clothes in a dryer on high heat for at least 60 minutes, high heat and agitation will kill the ticks.
  • Take a shower and wash off any ticks that may not have attached themselves through a bite

Check Your Pets:

If your pets spend time outside, it is in the best interest of the pet owner to check often and thoroughly for ticks. They attach themselves to the pets and bring the ticks inside the home putting your entire family at risk. For more information speak with your veterinarian about protecting yourself and pets against ticks.

Another way to lower chances of contact and bites from black legged ticks is:

  • Keeping grass mowed short
  • Trimming bushes and tree branches to let in sunlight (ticks avoid dry, hot locations)
  • Create a border of gravel or woodchips at least one metre wide around your yard next to wooded areas to create a separation
  • Remove leaf litter, brush, and weeds from the side of structures, edge of lawns and wood piles
  • Place children’s swing sets and playgrounds away from wooded areas, try putting structures on woodchips

Proper Tick Removal 

Ticks attach themselves to the skin and must be removed properly and removing ticks within 24 to 36 hours usually prevents infection.

To remove a tick follow these instructions:

  • Use clean fine-tipped tweezers and carefully grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible
  • Pull the tick straight out slowly, try not to crush or twist the tick and do not use your fingers.
  • After removing the tick place in a secure container to give to a healthcare professional
  • Once the tick is removed, wash the area where you have were bitten with hot soapy water, you can also disinfect the area with alcohol. When finished make sure with to wash hands with soap.

Visit your healthcare provider if you cannot remove:

  • Parts of the tick’s mouthparts in your skin
  • The tick itself because it has buried itself in your skin

Submitting Ticks for Lyme Disease Testing

Save Your Tick:

If you cannot send your tick for analysis right away make sure to store it in a sealed container record the date and location of the bite. Store the container for up to 10 days in the refrigerator for live ticks and ten days in the freezer for dead ticks. 

If you are worried about ticks in your home, backyard or otherwise, please call Addison Pest Control to find out about our treatment and prevention services.

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