CORNWALL, Ontario – With the humidity rising and many now spending more time outside, it’s important to know how to spot ticks, and deal with them if you suspect you’ve been bitten.
While there is no proven way to forecast higher-than-average tick population from year to year, recent surveillance studies have shown a steady increase in Lyme-carrying ticks along the St. Lawrence River and the 401.
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says that there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to people’s understanding of ticks, and how to protect themselves against them.
“People often assume every tick carries Lyme Disease, which isn’t the case,” said Roumeliotis.
Blacklegged ticks are the main carriers of Lyme Disease in North America, and with roughly 20 percent of those ticks testing positive for the disease, Cornwall and surrounding areas are at endemic status for tick-borne infections.
Roumeliotis says that despite this fact, there are a number of ways people can cut down these risks, including checking yourself after outdoor excursions.
“Ticks typically gravitate to the folds of the skin, so always check you neck, armpits, and knees,” said Roumeliotis, who also recommends showering after spending the day outside.
If a tick has attached itself to the skin, and is removed within a 24-hour period, there is little to no risk of contracting Lyme Disease. If the tick has been lodged in the skin for over a day, medical attention should be sought.
“When in doubt, see a doctor,” said Roumeliotis. “It takes longer to test for Lyme Disease than it does to treat it with highly effective antibiotics.”
Common early symptoms are the fever, fatigue, and the telltale bullseye rash. While Lyme Disease is a serious threat to health, there are ways to treat and manage symptoms if caught early on.