The Interior Health Authority has some safety messaging for residents as tick season begins.
Ticks are prevalent throughout BC’s Interior and are typically found in tall grass and wooded areas. General symptoms of tick-borne infections include fever, headache, muscle pain, and rash. Wood Ticks, the species most commonly found through Interior Health, do not carry the Lyme disease bacteria. They can carry other diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, according to IH.
The species that transmit Lyme disease, Ixodes ticks, are more common throughout coastal BC but may be present in some IH areas. In addition to fever, headache, and muscle pain, people infected with Lyme disease will often develop a rash that looks like a “bull’s eye” target which expands from the site of the tick bite. Less than one per cent of Ixodes in BC carry Lyme disease.
IH lists a number of precautions that can be taken to prevent tick bites and tick-related illnesses:
- Walk on cleared trails when in tall grass or wooded areas
- Cover up by wearing a hat, long sleeves, and pants
- Wear light-coloured clothing to help spot ticks easily
- Tuck pant legs into socks or boots
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET on uncovered skin
- Check clothing and scalp (covered or not) when leaving an area where ticks may live. Ask someone to help check hard-to-reach areas
- Have a shower after returning from areas where ticks may live
- Regularly check household pets for ticks.
To help keep ticks away from your home and yard, you can:
- Keep your lawn short and remove any fallen leaves and weeds
- Keep a buffer area such as wood-chip or gravel border between your lawn and wooded areas or stone walls. Any play equipment or play zones should be kept away from wooded areas
- Trim tree branches to allow more sunlight in your yard
- Keep wood piles and bird feeders away from the house
- Widen and maintain trails on your property.
More information is available here.