Tick numbers on the rise

Opinion

To the Editor:

The time spent in self isolation has allowed wildlife to move into new areas and drop ticks. This year has already been viewed as a bad years for ticks. This means we will all have to be extra vigilant to protect ourselves, our children and our pets.

I have had contact with people who have been bitten on golf courses, out biking and hiking, in their own back yards as well as finding ticks on their deck or in their house. I heard someone found a tick crawling on their car when they went to open the door to get it. The time has come where it can no longer be said that ticks are rare. Risk is everywhere for encountering these members of the arachnid (spider, mite, scorpion) family.

Veterinarians can advise on protecting your fur family members.

What can we humans do to protect ourselves? Be aware and so not take this lightly, it is real! It is not a scam as I and others have heard far too often.

Proper dress, closed shoes and socks, long pants tucked into your socks. Long sleeved shirt tucked into your pants as well as long hair tied up and a hat. The summer weather is coming and I am sure not many would want to dress this way. There is a line of clothing available that will kill ticks and repel mosquitoes. The CDC recommends using a repellent with DEET but it has been found to be not that effective for ticks by some researchers. A repellent such as Picaridin or one of the many natural repellents can help. Atlantick tick spray is all-natural and made in Nova Scotia and has been researched by Acadia University. There are other choices to help repel ticks but don’t forget to do complete body checks several times a day when out in nature.

Upon returning home once again check clothing for wandering ticks, a lint roller is good help to pick them up. Place clothing in a hot dryer for 10-15 minutes before washing. Repeat body check, don’t forget the crevices and it is recommended to shower within two hours of coming indoors and check again for ticks.

Be cautious removing attached ticks. You can use a very fine pointed tweezers or one of the many removal devices available. Do not put any substance on the tick or squeeze the tick as this will force the stomach contents of the tick in to the bite site. Save the tick and place in a zip lock baggie in the freezer.

If the tick has been attached it can be sent for testing to Geneticks https://www.geneticks.ca/test and tested for more than just Lyme. Dr Vett Lloyd at Mount A https://www.lloydticklab.ca/submit-your-ticks.html has just started tick testing again and tests for just Lyme. Be sure to check out their details on submitting as well as the cost for testing.

The number of ticks carrying infection have steadily increased over the years. Contact your doctor or health care provider if you develop symptoms or have a rash. Do some research on your own and become educated.

Education is key!

Brenda Sterling-Goodwin

New Glasgow