Thursday, July 05, 2012
Huron County Health Unit
Summer Bugs Can Be More Than Pesky
Summer is finally here. If you enjoy time outdoors the Huron County Health Unit is advising you to protect yourself from summer bugs that can carry diseases.
Lyme disease is an infection caused by bacteria that is carried by deer ticks, which can be found throughout Ontario, including Huron County. If left untreated, Lyme Disease can cause serious complications.
The small black-legged ticks cannot fly, but settle on tall grasses and bushes until they attach themselves to a person or animal passing by.
Public Health Inspector, Colleen Ryan, says protecting yourself from Lyme Disease can also protect you from the mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus. “If you’re going outdoors, protect yourself. There are a few simple precautions everyone can take to prevent tick bites and mosquito bites.”
- Wear white or light-coloured clothing which makes it easier to spot and remove ticks.
- Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito and tick bites.
- Wear closed footwear and socks, tuck pants into socks.
- Stay on paths where possible.
- Wear insect repellent with DEET. Apply sunscreen before insect repellent.
- At home, shake clothes outside and check your body for ticks.
- Brush and examine dogs for ticks to avoid bringing the pests into the home to bite people later or infect the pet.
If you find a tick on yourself, remove it with tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick away from your skin gently but firmly. If you can, save the tick alive in a jar or screw-top bottle and take it to the health unit for testing. When pulling the tick off your skin, avoid crushing its body. Clean your skin after with soap and water.
Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pains. There is also a skin rash in the shape of a bull’s eye. Ryan says if you have these symptoms get medical attention. “Be sure and tell your health care provider if you have recently been in any wooded areas.”
The health unit’s website has more information on Lyme disease and West Nile Virus at www.huroncounty.ca/health.
Communications Co-ordinator, 519-482-3416 ext 2289