Protecting Yourself Against Tick Bites

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Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of mammals, birds, and other animals. They are found most commonly in warm, humid climates, and are very common in the Canadian wilderness. One of the biggest risks of being bitten by a bacteria carrying tick is contracting Lyme disease. Here are some tips and warnings to help you protect yourself from ticks.

Where in Canada are Ticks Found?

Recent studies in Canada have found that ticks are spreading across eastern and central Canada. It is important to be aware of the highly affected areas so that campers can prepare themselves for all possibilities. Listed below are some of the most affected areas in Canada.



British Columbia

  • Vancouver Island
  • Southern Mainland
  • Coast of British Columbia (facing Vancouver Island)
  • River valleys across the southern part of the province

Manitoba

  • Most areas in the Manitoba wilderness are currently affected by ticks (for more information on exact locations visit canada.ca)

Ontario

  • Along the north shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario
  • Parts of Thousand Islands National Park
  • Kingston and area around St. Lawrence Valley to the border with Quebec
  • Northwestern Ontario in the region of Lake the Woods
  • Pinery Park on the shore of Lake Huron

Quebec

  • Montérégie
  • Southwest of Mauricie et Centre-du-Québec
  • North and west of Estrie
  • Southwest of Outaouais

New Brunswick

  • Charlotte County
  • Saint John County
  • Kings County
  • Albert County
  • Westmorland County
  • York County

Protecting Yourself Against Tick Bites

How to Prevent Tick Bites

When camping, there are many steps you can take to make sure that you are not affected by ticks. When in wooded and heavily forested areas, it is important to ensure that you are taking these safety precautions:

  • Tuck your shirt into your pants and pull socks over pant legs to limit skin exposure
  • Use bug spray containing DEET or Icaridin on your skin and clothing (make sure to follow the directions on the bottle). Permethrin-infused clothing is another option, though availability in Canada is sometimes complicated.
  • Walk on cleared paths or walkways and avoid walking through high grass and heavy forestry
  • Do a daily full-body check for ticks on yourself and on your children. Make sure to check hair, underarms, ears, behind the knees, all over legs, and around the waist as these are some of the most commonly affected areas
  • Do a tick check on outdoor gear and pets as they could carry ticks inside your home
  • If you do find an attached tick, make sure you remove them with tweezers immediately

How to Properly Remove a Tick

If you do find an attached tick, do not panic. Instead take immediate action to safely remove it from your body. Removing ticks within the first 24-36 hours after they bite usually prevents an infection. Here’s how to properly remove a tick:

  • By using tweezers that have been cleaned, grasp the body of the tick as close as you can to the skin on which it is attached. When you do this, slowly pull it straight out, making sure not to twist or crush the tick.
  • If the mouth, or head of the tick, breaks off and remains in the skin, remove them with tweezers as well. If you are unable to remove them easily, let the skin heal, and contact your healthcare provider.
  • Wash the bite area and your hands with soap and water.
  • If you are able to, try and save the tick that bit you in a sealed container and record the date of the bite. Bring it with you to see your healthcare provider as it may help them identify the bacteria it was carrying.

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