Ticks and Your Health
Blacklegged ticks and the bacteria that cause Lyme disease are known to be present in mainland Nova Scotia and Kejimkujik.
To reduce the risk of encountering ticks, it is recommended that people and their pets stay on trails in natural areas and avoid tall grassy areas or shrubby areas and wooded edges. Do not let your dog run free as the ticks can attach to them and be passed on to you. Dogs can transport ticks to other areas.
People are encouraged to wear light coloured clothing (easier to spot the ticks) consisting of long-sleeved shirts that fit tightly around the wrist and long pants tucked into socks or boots, use insect repellent containing DEET, and check for ticks on clothing and skin. Conduct daily "tick checks".
The Blacklegged tick is very small (the size of a sesame seed and can be difficult to see on a dog) and the bite is usually not painful, or produces only a mild "tingling" sensation. Look for a new "freckle". A daily total-body inspection and prompt removal of attached ticks (i.e. within 18-24 hours) can reduce the risk of infection in the case of Lyme disease.
What do I do if I find a tick?
To remove a tick, use smooth, blunt-ended tweezers to grip the tick body firmly where it enters the skin and pull it straight out. If possible, ensure that the mouthparts are removed since they may cause local irritation and inflammation. Don’t squeeze the tick. Don’t put anything on the tick, or try to burn the tick off. Apply an antiseptic to the bitten area.
How can Lyme Disease be Prevented?
The only known way to get Lyme disease is from the bite of an infected Blacklegged tick. Knowledge of where these ticks are found, avoidance of such areas and taking measures to prevent them biting, and if bitten, prompt removal of the tick, are the primary preventative measures.
Be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease. If you develop symptoms, particularly a skin rash around the bite that looks like a red bull’s eye and /or flu-like symptoms medical attention should be sought. If Lyme disease develops antibiotics are necessary to prevent complications and the earlier treatment is received, the better. If not treated, complications of the heart, nervous system or joints can occur.
What about Dog ticks?
Dog ticks are also known to be present at Kejimkujik. Unlike Blacklegged ticks, Dog ticks do not carry Lyme disease. The presence of Dog ticks is very weather dependant. Dog tick numbers decline when hot summer weather begins (often late June - early July) and remain present at reduced levels through the summer.
The Public Health Agency of Canada’s Lyme Disease Fact Sheet
Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources: Tick Information
Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness: Lyme Disease
This fact sheet provides basic information only. It must not take the place of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Based on information prepared by St. Lawrence Islands National Park and Thousand Islands National Park