To the Editor:
According to the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, now ALL of Nova Scotia is classed as endemic for blacklegged ticks and if people are outdoors they are at risk for Lyme disease.
There are still areas of higher risk and unfortunately, Pictou County is one of the high risk areas. It is important to remember that no tick is a good tick as ticks can carry many other infections all at the same time.
Educate yourself and know what you can do to help protect yourself, your children and your pets. We are all at risk! This information hopefully is becoming familiar and it cannot be stressed enough. Daily tick check for all if you have been in an area where there may be ticks. Walk in the centre of trails and try to avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. People have been bitten in their own yards. Proper dress: be sure to cover up and tuck your pants into your socks. Use a repellent; something that contains picaridin is a good choice as it has been shown that DEET is not good at repelling ticks. There are natural tick repellents such as vinegar and some essential oils, rose geranium, yarrow, lavender, eucalyptus and others. Natural Edge, medicinal herbalist, can be found at the New Glasgow Farmers Market on Saturday mornings selling a tick repellent that is very effective. Nothing is 100 per cent so it is important to check yourself, your children and your pets for ticks.
What if you find a tick attached? Do not put anything on a tick such as dish soap, alcohol and a hot match, to name a few things people have used, or twist the tick. Carefully and slowly pull straight up to remove the tick with fine point tweezers or use a tick removal device. The Tick Key is available at Pharmacy First in Stellarton as are repellents containing picaridin. CanLyme has complete tick removal kits available on line at https://canlyme.com/ as well as a wealth of information concerning Lyme.
Save the tick. If the tick was on a person it can be sent to Dr. Vett Lloyd at Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB where all ticks are being tested for Lyme. The turnaround time is usually two to four weeks (http://tinyurl.com/l2795ul) . It was announced recently about CanLyme establishing a research partnership with Mount Allison.
Dalhousie University is doing a study and they want YOUR ticks! Seal your tick in a baggie (with a damp cotton swab if it is still alive), put it in an envelope and mail it to: Tatiana Rossolimo, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford Street, PO Box 15000, Halifax, NS, B3H 4R2. Please include information on where the tick came from and an email address if you would like to know the results. Please note: they are not able to test specifically for Lyme disease at this time as the study is centred on other findings.
Veterinarians are having animals come in almost every day with ticks and have several dogs test positive weekly. There is an accurate test for dogs but at this time testing in people is poor. Lyme is a clinical diagnosis that can be supported by testing. A negative Lyme test does not mean you do not have Lyme.
You know how to try and protect yourself and if bitten, seek knowledgeable medical help. This is a serious disease and can show itself days to weeks to months to years later and is known as the great impostor mimicking other health conditions.
There is an event in Halifax, VOCAL, Voices Of Canadians About Lyme on June 3 from noon to 5 p.m. at Ondaatje Hall, Dalhousie University, Halifax. Check out the FB page or if you would like more information e-mail Donna Lugar email@example.com. Some of the speakers will be: Andrew Hebda, Zoology Curator at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History; Dr. Rade ND; Dr. Ben Boucher, retired MD; Bob Giguere, IGeneX California, USA; Dr Richard Dubocq MD, Maine, USA and others. VOCAL events will be happening in various parts of Canada with the largest in Ottawa.
Be aware. Education is Key!