Huron County, ON – With school out and summer in motion, many people are enjoying outdoor activities. The Huron County Health Unit reminds people to protect themselves against mosquito and tick bites when outdoors.
“It’s important to enjoy outdoor summer activities,” says Public Health inspector Mike Park, “but you need to keep yourself protected against bug bites too.”
Precautions to take when spending time outdoors include:
- Wearing light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and closed-toed shoes.
- Using an insect repellent approved by Health Canada, and always reading and following the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to apply insect repellent after sunscreen.
- Trying to limit being outdoors at dawn and dusk, as this is when mosquitos that transmit West Nile virus are most active.
- Conducting head-to-toe tick checks. If you find a tick on you, remove it by grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible using tweezers and pulling it straight out slowly but firmly. Place the tick in a container and bring it to your healthcare provider or to the Huron County Health Unit for identification, and testing if needed.
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria and is spread through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. A tick must be attached and feeding for at least 24 hours before transmitting the bacteria, so early detection and removal is important. Early symptoms of Lyme disease can include:
- Muscle and joint pain
- An expanding rash that may resemble a bull’s eye
West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Some mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus are more active at dusk and dawn. Most people infected with West Nile virus do not experience any symptoms, however, those who do may experience:
- Body aches
- Skin rash
- Occasionally, vomiting and nausea
If you experience any of these symptoms, speak to your healthcare provider.
To learn more about Lyme disease or West Nile virus, please visit huronhealthunit.ca