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Halton reminds residents to protect themselves from ticks and Lyme disease

Halton Region’s Health Department is reminding residents and travelers to protect themselves from ticks and Lyme disease as they enjoy the outdoors in Ontario this summer. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by the black-legged tick and while the risk of tick-borne diseases in Halton Region is low, residents can still contract the disease, particularly in risk areas.

While the risk of tick-borne diseases in Halton is low, residents travelling to risk areas over the summer months need to know how to protect themselves from Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. The Halton Region Health Department runs the submit-a-tick program to help staff determine if ticks carrying Lyme disease become established in Halton Region. This information helps the Region respond to the changing needs of the community and take proactive steps to ensure Halton stays safe and healthy.

“To support Halton’s submit-a-tick program, if you find a tick on yourself or a family member, remove it with fine-tip tweezers and submit it to us for identification and testing,” said Dr. Daniela Kempkens, Halton Region’s Acting Medical Officer of Health. “Working with the community, this program helps us assess the risk of tick-borne diseases in Halton and helps us take preventative actions if needed.”

Residents engaging in outdoor activities in wooded, brushy or tall grass areas, and especially those travelling to any of the following areas, should visit halton.ca/lymediseaseto learn how to prevent tick bites:

  • Long Point Provincial Park
  • Pinery Provincial Park
  • Point Pelee Provincial Park
  • Rondeau Provincial Park
  • Rouge Valley
  • Turkey Point Provincial Park
  • Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area
  • Wainfleet Bog Conservation Area
  • St. Lawrence Islands National Park

Residents can take the following steps to protect themselves and their families from tick bites:

  • Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly-woven fabric.
  • Tuck your shirt into your pants and your pant legs into your socks to keep ticks away from your bare skin.
  • Wear shoes that cover your entire foot, avoiding sandals or open shoes.
  • Stay on trails and avoid tall, grassy areas.
  • Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET or Icaridin.
  • After finishing your outdoor activity, check your clothing and body for any ticks, especially around the groin, armpits and hairline.
  • Check your pets regularly for ticks.

To learn more about how to prevent tick bites or how to participate in the submit-a-tick program, please visit halton.ca/lymedisease or call 311.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LYME DISEASE, visit the Government of Canada’s information page by clicking here…