Huron County, ON – As people spend more time outdoors, the Huron County Health Unit reminds everyone to protect themselves against tick and mosquito bites.
“With the warm weather here, ticks and mosquitoes are more active,” says Public Health Inspector Keshia Hackett. “While the risk of becoming ill from a bug bite in Huron County is low, it’s still important to protect yourself against West Nile virus and Lyme disease.”
West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The easiest way to prevent infection is to prevent mosquito bites, especially during dawn and dusk when many mosquito species are most active.
Lyme disease is spread through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. A tick must be attached and feeding for at least 24-36 hours before the tick will start to transmit the bacteria, so early detection and removal is important.
Here are some precautions to take to prevent tick and mosquito bites:
- Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and closed-toed shoes.
- Use an insect repellent approved by Health Canada, and always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Conduct head-to-toe tick checks, remembering to check children and pets as well.
- Shower after returning from the outdoors to wash off any loose ticks.
- Put your clothes into a dryer on high heat for 60 minutes to kill any possible ticks.
- If you find a tick on you, remove it using tweezers, grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible and pulling straight out slowly but firmly. Place the tick in a container and bring it to your healthcare provider or the Huron County Health Unit for identification and testing if needed.
The Huron County Health Unit conducts mosquito and tick surveillance programs. The Health Unit’s West Nile virus mosquito trapping program will begin mid-June. To help build a better understanding of the different tick populations in Huron County, the Health Unit will be conducting tick dragging in the spring and fall.
For more information on West Nile virus and Lyme disease and ways to protect yourself, visit www.huronhealthunit.ca.