May is Tick Season. As the weather warms up, the critters emerge.
The Good news is that the risk of getting Lyme disease is low and the most common tick in Saskatchewan is the American dog tick, which does not transmit Lyme disease.
Ticks live in tall grass, brush or wooded areas throughout southern Saskatchewan. If you find yourself in such an area, take precautions. Wear long pants and close-toed shoes, use repellent and, most importantly, check for ticks — on you, your kids and your pets — when you come back inside.
Ticks are generally attracted to areas on their host that are warm and damp — such as your armpits, groin area and your scalp. Because of this, it is recommended to wear long sleeves and tuck your pant legs into your socks and even tape around your ankles. Wearing a hat will help avoid the tick finding a place to attach to.
It is also important to note that regular insect repellent is not useful in regards to ticks, as they are members of the spider family.
If you do find one attached:
- DO NOT just grab on the largest part of the body as this squishes the contents of the tick into the wound.
- DO NOT force it back out by using Vaseline, nail polish remover, matches, etc. As it will regurgitate bacteria and disease into the wound.
- Using fine tooth tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible and then firmly pull it up and out. A tick key also works.
- Place a tick in a sealed container or between two strips of clear tape. You can then submit the tick to the U of S for testing.
Additionally, if you do find one attached, be aware of any signs or symptoms of illness, which could take up to two weeks to manifest. It is always encouraged to see medical attention if you are have any questions or concerns.