Ticks and Lyme Disease
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Preventing disease by taking precautions 

What are ticks?

Ticks are tiny bugs that feed on blood. In BC’s Southern Interior, the most common species is the Rocky Mountain Wood Tick (Dermacentor andersoni). It is about the size of a small pea and is not known to be a carrier of Lyme Disease.

While not considered common to the area, the Deer Tick (Ixodes pacificus or I. angustus) has been linked to a handful of Southern Interior Lyme Disease cases. The adult deer tick is the size of a sesame seed (2.5-millimeter diameter), oval, and has a flattened body before enjoying a blood meal. When engorged with blood, the eight-legged arthropod is about the size of a small pea and blue-black in color.

Most tick bites do not result in disease because most ticks are not infected with disease-causing germs. If a tick is carrying disease, the germs that cause the disease are injected with the tick’s bite. Tick bites like any insect bite should be treated seriously since infection can occur due to the break in the skin.

Avoiding ticks

  1. Walk on cleared trails wherever possible.
  2. Wear light colored clothing, tuck your shirt into your pants and tuck your pants into your boots or socks.
  3. Put insect repellent containing DEET on all uncovered skin. Re-apply as frequently as directed on the containers. See BCCDC’s Insect Repellant Poster.  
  4. Check clothing and scalp (covered or not) when leaving an area where ticks may live.
  5. Regularly check household pets for ticks.

How to safely remove ticks

Do not do anything that can stress or crush the tick’s body. This may cause it to inject its stomach contents into your blood. Follow the steps below:

  1. Using needle nose tweezers, gently grasp the tick close to the skin. If you find it difficult to remove the tick do not use grease, alcohol or heat to remove the tick. Visit your doctor.
  2. Without squeezing, pull the tick straight out.
  3. After removal, clean the area with soap and water and apply an antiseptic cream.
  4. If you find one tick, check very carefully for others.
  5. Notify your doctor if you notice any rash or unusual health problems later.

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