Here's what you need to know when the tick season comes


Spring temperatures mark the start of the tick season in Nova Scotia.

The biggest concern is black-legged tick bites, which may carry the bacteria responsible for the disease. Lyme disease, an infectious disease.

The Department of Health estimates that most of mainland Nova Scotia is at high risk for contracting Lyme disease. This year, he has also added Cape Breton County, which includes the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, to this list.

Steve Sutherland, host of CBC Cape Breton & # 39; s Morning of information, Talked with Dr. Daniela Kempkens, the medical officer of health of eastern Nova Scotia.

This interview has been modified for clarity and length.

Why has the Ministry of Health changed the risk status of the CBRM from the bottom up?

Nova Scotia has a very good climate for tick populations. Blacklegged ticks survive best in areas with a very humid environment. They are often found in or near forest areas, in tall grass, dead leaves, etc.

In 2017, the entire province of Nova Scotia was declared a risk area. Each year, the classification of each county is reviewed to determine whether there is a lower, moderate or high risk. This is based on human data on cases of Lyme disease, as well as on ticks.

So when the department looked at Cape Breton County data this year, it had to determine that it had gone from low risk to high risk. But it is important to point out that there is a risk of blacklegged ticks and Lyme disease throughout the province.

What is the risk of having blacklegged ticks?

We have several ticks in Nova Scotia and blacklegged ticks are the only ones with Lyme disease. If you are stung by a tick, it does not mean that you will contract Lyme disease. It depends on the type of tick that bit you and then the tick has to carry the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease. And, what is very important, it also depends on how long the tick is attached.

The risk increases only if the tick has been stuck for 24 hours or more. It is therefore very important that, if you are outside and going back inside, check that you and your children are anti-ticks to make sure you catch them early and remove them before They have not been tied for more than 24 hours.

A female tick of adult Lyme disease represented with a quarter to scale. (CBC)

Where should you check?

You should check your whole body. But they like hot and humid areas, so check your armpits, the area around your groin, your waist and behind your knees.

And what are you looking for?

When ticks are not attached for a long time or according to their life cycle phase, they can be very small and difficult to spot. You are looking for a little blackhead that is attached somewhere and if you notice that you are taking tweezers, you only have the ordinary tweezers that you have at home. You catch the tick with tweezers as close as possible to the skin, and gently and slowly pull the tick out of the skin. It is very important not to twist, twist or twist.

Once the tick is removed, clean the area of ​​the bite with soap and water. They have different sizes, depending on their life cycle, so it is recommended to take a shower after your arrival within two hours. This will help eliminate ticks that have not yet attached.

How are they on you?

Ticks do not jump. They do not fly. They climb shrubs or tall grass. They wait for a warm body, such as a pet or a human, to rub off, then they can attach to you. It's really this contact with the brush or leaves that is needed.

And the idea is that you do not want to crush the body when you remove it, because it squeezes you?

That's right, you just want to hold the tick gently and slowly pull it up to remove it. And then, it is also important to dispose of it. You want to either throw it in the toilet, you can drown it in alcohol to burn, or even freeze it in a plastic bag, and then throw it in the trash.

This rash is a typical symptom of Lyme disease. (

You should not keep it to identify it?

The general public is not invited to submit ticks.

I was wondering if you had kept it, someone might say yes, it was a blacklegged tick, you run a risk?

Even though it was a blacklegged tick, we do not know if this tick was infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. So really, if you have had a tick bite, you should pay attention to signs and symptoms that could develop within three to 30 days.

You are looking for a rash. Sometimes it looks like a bubble, but also less specific symptoms such as fever, chills, headaches, feeling tired, muscles and joints, and maybe swelling of the lymph nodes. primary care provider.

And if you remove a tick from yourself or from one of your children, it would be wise to note the date and location on your body so that you can give your health care provider a little more information about the time you have been missing since the tick bit you.

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