Lyme disease has slowly made its way into the media spotlight over the past few years. Reported cases of Lyme disease are on the rise, and this serious illness got even more attention when Canadian singer Avril Lavigne revealed that she was dealing with Lyme disease in 2015. Here’s what you need to know about Lyme disease and some helpful tick prevention tips.
What You Need to Know About Ticks & Lyme Disease
The most important thing you need to know about Lyme disease is that it is a very serious illness. Early symptoms of Lyme disease can appear quickly or gradually, and can include common flu-like symptoms such as a sore throat, headaches, congestion, and stiffness.
Lyme disease treatment isn’t simple or straightforward. It usually consists of a series of antibiotics delivered orally or intravenously, but the treatment plan depends on the stage of Lyme disease when it is detected.
Unfortunately, because of the parallels between symptoms of Lyme disease and the flu, many people do not get the necessary treatment early enough, leading to a more complex treatment plan and a longer recovery. In fact, less than 50% of people diagnosed with Lyme disease even remember being bitten by a tick. Ticks are extremely small insects, ranging in size from the size of poppy seed when they’re young larva to the size of a sesame seed when fully grown. It is easy to imagine not noticing getting bit by a tick.
While many people can overcome Lyme disease through antibiotic treatments, in some cases people can suffer from chronic Lyme disease. Symptoms of chronic Lyme disease include long-term chronic fatigue, poor balance, mood swings, memory loss and confusion.
Lyme disease is spread through the bites of ticks that carry Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. The western blacklegged tick – commonly known as the deer tick – are known to carry and transmit Lyme disease.
It takes 36 to 48 hours for a tick nymph to transmit the Lyme disease bacterium, but because of their small size, because they bury themselves in your skin while they’re biting you, and because they secrete a local anesthetic when they do bite you, it is often difficult to notice a tick biting you.
Lyme disease occurrences are on the rise in Canada. In 2009 there were just 144 reported cases, but that number has grown significantly to 987 in 2016.
Lyme Disease Prevention
Lyme disease transmission is most common in the spring and summer months, so be especially alert during this part of the year. Younger nymph ticks are the bigger threat in the early summer months when they’re looking for blood so they can grow, and adult ticks becoming a bigger threat later in the summer.
Ticks naturally live in wooded areas and prefer moist and shaded areas. If you enjoy nature and the outdoors, be aware of ticks. Wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts help keep ticks off your skin, but regularly check your clothes for any ticks. Ticks will land on your clothes and climb upwards in the search for exposed skin. Using insect repellent will help discourage ticks in the first place.
Ticks are becoming more prominent in eastern Canada. This is because of the warmer winters that we’re having – more ticks can survive the winter months so the tick population is growing where it wasn’t as much of an issue in the past.
There are area tick prevention sprays that can be applied to larger areas such as backyards, porches and patios, and around your property in general. If you live near a wooded area, if your kids spend a lot of time outside, or if you do a lot of entertaining, it might be worth getting your property sprayed for ticks. We offer a tick prevention spray that will protect your property from ticks for up to three months.
Helpful Lyme Disease Resources
Here are some helpful resources if you want to learn more about Lyme disease:
- Tick Identification Guide – Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation
- Lyme Disease Risk Areas – Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation
- Surveillance of Lyme Disease – Government of Canada
Trust the Pest Control Experts for Your Tick Prevention Needs
Lyme disease is a very real and very serious threat. It is on the rise in eastern Canada because of the recent run of warmer winters. Lyme disease is spread by ticks that burrow into your skin when they bite you to suck your blood. It takes 36 – 48 hours for an infected tick to transmit Lyme disease so if you’ve been outside in a wooded area make sure to check yourself regularly for ticks.
You can protect your family and friends from Lyme disease by treating your property with tick prevention treatments from Pest Protection Plus, so if you want peace of mind this summer, give our pest control experts a call!
And always remember …
Whatever the Pest, We Do It Best!