June 15, 2016
Residents of Prairie North Health Region (PNHR) are reminded that warmer weather brings an increased risk of tick bites for those who spend time outdoors. Ticks are out from early spring until early October, particularly in tall grass, brush or wooded areas.
PNHR Medical Health Officer Dr. Mandiangu Nsungu explains that with the onset of summer and people spending greater amounts of time outdoors, the risk of tick bites increases. He urges everyone to take precautions against tick bites while you are outside and after you come back indoors:
- Wear pants, long-sleeved shirts and shoes that don't show your feet.
- Pull socks over your pant legs to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs.
- Wear light-coloured clothes so ticks can be easily seen.
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET or Icaridin. Apply repellent to clothes as well as to your skin. Always read and follow the directions.
- Shower or bathe within two hours of being outside to wash off loose ticks.
- Do “full body” tick checks daily on yourself, children, family members, and pets.
Dr. Nsungu explains that the risk of being exposed to Lyme disease from a tick bite is very low, though not zero, as most ticks found in Saskatchewan are not the type that can transmit Lyme disease.
“In Prairie North Health Region, you can participate in the Ministry of Health's surveillance of blacklegged or deer ticks: just bring any ticks you find to a Public Health office in North Battleford, Meadow Lake or Lloydminster so that they can be accurately identified and tested. There is no charge for testing. Call 1-888-298-0202 for more information,” Nsungu states.
If you think you have been bitten by a tick, there are a couple of things you should do:
- If the tick is attached to your skin, carefully remove it with tweezers. Grasp the tick close to the skin and pull slowly upward with steady pressure; avoid twisting or crushing the tick. Do not burn or smother the tick. Cleanse the skin around the tick bite with soap and water or disinfectant.
- Mark the date and location of the bite on the calendar. Please note that ticks which are removed within 36 hours of biting do not transmit Lyme disease. If you develop a rash or other symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider.
For more information about ticks and tick bites, contact your local health care provider, call HealthLine at 811, or go to www.healthlineonline.ca .
For a print friendly version of the News Release, click here.
For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:
Linda Lewis, PNHR Communications Officer 306-446-6625