Protect Yourself from Ticks and Lyme Disease

Written by Communications, June 10, 2020

Free App Helps You Identify Ticks Easily with a Photo

As COVID-19 restrictions start to ease in Ontario, Peterborough Public Health encourages the public to take extra precaution during the summer and fall months to prevent tick bites, especially in areas that are forested or have tall grasses, weeds or many shrubs.

“Black-legged ticks that carry Lyme disease are known to live in our area,” said Donna Churipuy, Director of Public Health Programs. “Preventing them from landing on you when you go outside, and knowing what to do if you find one, is important information that will help keep you and your family healthy.”

Peterborough Public Health recommends being “Tick-Smart” this season and following these prevention tips:

  • Wear long clothing when outdoors. This includes long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks. Shirts should be tucked into pants and pants tucked into socks.
  • Wear light-coloured clothing. Ticks are more visible on light-coloured materials. This will help you see and remove the tick.
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET. Apply insect repellent sparingly to your clothing and exposed skin to keep ticks away. Do not apply bug repellent under clothing and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • When hiking be sure to keep to the middle of the trail to minimize your contact with tall grasses and bushes. These are potential spots where ticks can be found.
  • Check your clothing and entire body for ticks after returning from being outdoors. Pay special attention to hidden areas like the groin, armpit, scalp, and back of the knee. You can use a mirror to do this or have someone help you.
  • Check pets for ticks because pets can also pick ticks up from outdoor areas. Although Lyme disease cannot be passed from a pet to a human, animals can bring ticks into your home. It is important to check your pets regularly.
  • Take a shower as soon as you can after being outdoors to wash off any ticks crawling on you.
  • Place outdoor clothing through the dryer cycle for 60 minutes on high heat before washing. Ticks thrive in wet environments and will not survive the heat of the dryer.

Churipuy noted that not all ticks carry Lyme disease, so the first step is always species identification.

“With the new eTick app tick, identifying ticks just got a lot easier,” she explained. “It allows anyone with a smart phone to snap a photo of a tick and upload it directly to the website to receive a species identification.”

Once successfully submitted, Churipuy continued, the results will be available within 48 hours. Real-time mapping of tick submissions is also shown on the website. If the species is a blacklegged tick she recommended talking to your health care provider.

The app is available for download from the website www.etick.ca.

For more information on general inquiries about ticks please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca or call 705-743-1000 ext. 373.

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For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence

Communications Manager

705-743-1000, ext. 391