Ticks and Lime disease are now a part of life. We can either choose not to venture outside of our urban spaces, or take precautions and not let our fears restrict how we live our lives. Here to pass on tips for keeping ourselves and our animals safe is Lawrence Gunther, our bi-weekly environmental contributor and host of Blue Fish Radio heard every Saturday at 11: A.m. here on AMI Audio.
(Transcript of Lawrence Gunther’s bi-weekly 12-minute segment on Live from Studio 5 broadcast over AMI TV and Audio across Canada)
Q. Welcome back Lawrence, where are ticks found?
A. Ticks are most likely to be in woods, where woods meet lawn, where lawns meet fields, tall brush/grass, under leaves, under ground cover (low growing vegetation), near stone walls or wood piles, shady areas, around bird feeders, outside pet areas.
Q. Are they only found in the country, or are they in urban spaces as well?
A. Both, while the tick species most commonly found to carry the Lime disease are found in wooded environments, they are increasingly now being found in more built up locations.
Q. How can we avoid being bit by ticks, and how can we protect our dogs and cats?
A. Insect repellents for open skin like necks, ears and wrists and hands, making sure the repellent has the chemical deet, and long sleeve clothing tucked in. Tuck your pants into your socks, and your shirts into your pants. Where shirts with collars that can be closed around the neck. Wear a hat. For dogs and cats, make sure you now get a prevention medication that not only includes coverage for Heart Worm, but ticks as well. It won’t prevent your animals from being bit, but the ticks will simply fall off after biting before they have a chance to transfer the Lime Disease.
Q. What happens if you are bitten by a tick?
A. Remove the tick right away. Don’t burn it or apply chemicals, use tweezers or a tick extractor that you can buy at the vet for less than $10. Be careful not to rip off the tick’s head when removing the tick. If the tick has been attached for more than 24 hours, doctors now say that they won’t even bother testing for Lime disease, but begin treatment with antibiotics right away.
Q. Is it possible for someone without sight to detect ticks once they have been bit or their animal has been bit?
A. Yes, absolutely, know your body and know your animal’s body. Know where the moles or skin tags are so you don’t mistake them later for ticks.
A. After spending time in the outdoors, or even in someone’s backyard, examine your animal and yourself thoroughly. It’ doesn’t take long. If you find a tick, you can extract it carefully, or have someone else do it for you.
A. Remember, there are plenty of parts of North America where they have been dealing with ticks and Lime disease for decades, and people live and get on with their lives. We need to simply accept that ticks are now part of our lives, and make sure we take precautions to avoid contracting Lime disease. Don’t let it limit your life. Deal with it just as you would any other insect. We didn’t all die from West Nile disease, Rabies, or the numerous other diseases that exist all around us. Risk can be mitigated and life can go on.