By Jenson Quon
Wood ticks this summer has been particularly bad in Alberta for hikers, campers and backcountry sports enthusiasts.
Tick bites leave nasty itchy welts and are also carriers of diseases including Lyme Disease.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection commonly spread by ticks and is the most common tick-borne disease in North America. The infection in some cases, if left untreated can lead to long-term complications and disability. Early identification and treatment of the disease in its early stages with antibiotics is key to a successful recovery.
Symptoms for Lyme disease include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, and weakness or paralysis of the muscles of the face.
Alberta Health and Alberta Agriculture and Foresty noted a 34% increase in tick cases from 2015 to 2016. Public Health Agency of Canada reported a 50 percent increase since the year before. In all cases, 20% of wood ticks are reported to carry Lyme disease.
So far no Lyme disease has been detected in Alberta.
Tips before going out into the Mountains
- Wear long sleeves and light coloured clothing
- Tuck your clothing in, limit exposure of skin to elements
- Wear a bug repellant containing DEET or picaridin
- Check your clothing for ticks before you take them off or throw them into the dryer on a quick timer to kill any ticks or insects that may have tagged along
- If you’re bringing your pet into the mountains, ensure that they have tick repellant as well. Check and comb through their fur after you get them home
- If you show any symptoms of Lyme disease, go see a physician immediately
- If you are able to take a sample of the tick to with you to the physician, dead or alive, they can help you remove it and have it identified
- Do not smother a tick with any substance or burn it while still stuck in your skin, it will only increase your chances of being infected
Learn about Wood Ticks with Danatec
For more valuable information and knowledge about Wood Ticks, prevention and awareness take a look at our course:
Wood Tick Safety Online Training
Whether you spend time outdoors for work or creation, you need to be aware of the health risks of wood ticks.