In Canada, the increasing presence of ticks has caused the government to launch an official campaign to educate the public about the dangers of tick bites. Ticks can carry Lyme disease, caused by bacteria in their bodies reaching the human host, usually after 36 to 48 hours of being attached. The good news is, removing ticks before 36 to 48 hours usually prevents infection.
The trouble with ticks is that they can be very small and hard to spot! The CDC illustrated this in the freakiest way possible on May 4, with this Tweet showing a poppy seed muffin with five of the parasitic insect on it.
Can you spot the five ticks in this photo? It turns out, ticks can be as small as poppy seeds, therefore VERY difficult to spot.
After the Tweet was sent out, people were understandably grossed out! The CDC even issued a tongue-in-cheek apology:
The Canadian government, has a detailed online guide to prevent being infected with Lyme disease. Click here to read it. There are also a few basic things you can do every day:
- Wear light coloured long-sleeved shirts and pants to spot ticks more easily
- Tuck your shirt into your pants, and pull your socks over your pant legs
- Use bug spray containing DEET or Icaridin on your skin and clothing (always follow the directions on the label)
- Walk on cleared paths or walkways
- Shower or bathe within two hours of being outdoors to facilitate a prompt tick check and to remove ticks that have not attached yet
- Do a daily full-body check for ticks on yourself and your children, especially in the hair, under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs and around the waist
- If you find an attached tick, remove it with tweezers immediately. Removing it within 24-36 hours can help prevent infection.
- Do a tick check on your outdoor gear and your pets as they could carry ticks inside your home
- Put dry outdoor clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill any remaining ticks. If your clothes are damp, additional drying time is needed. If you need to wash your clothes first, hot water is recommended. If the clothes cannot be washed in hot water, tumble dry on low heat for 90 minutes or high heat for 60 minutes.
- Mow the lawn regularly to keep the grass short
- Remove leaf litter, brush and weeds at the edge of the lawn and around stonewalls and woodpiles
- Stack firewood neatly and in a dry area
- Put barriers to exclude deer around your home and seal stonewalls and small openings to discourage rodent activity
- Place children's recreational playground sets, patios and decks away from the yard edges and trees. Place them on a woodchip or mulch foundation and in a sunny location, if possible.
- Treat pets that are commonly exposed to ticks with oral or topic acaricides (as recommended by your veterinarian) as they could carry ticks into the home
Source: Government of Canada