Ticks and Your Health
Blacklegged ticks (also known as deer ticks) and the bacteria that cause Lyme disease and Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis (HGA) are known to be present in the Thousand Islands Region, including the mainland, and are also now known to be present in a wider region of Eastern Ontario.
To reduce the risk of encountering ticks, it is recommended that people and their pets stay on trails in natural areas, especially in wooded and grassy areas. Do not let your dog run free as the ticks can attach to them and be passed on to you. Dogs can transport the disease to other areas.
Do not let your dog run free as the ticks can attach to them and be passed on to you. Dogs can transport the disease 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”.
Ticks may be very small (especially in the nymph or immature stage), 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.
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 and HGA be prevented?
The only known way to get Lyme disease and HGA is from the bite of an infectious tick. Knowledge of where these ticks are found, avoidance of such areas, and taking measures to prevent ticks from biting, and, if bitten, prompt removal of the tick are the primary preventative measures.
Be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease and HGA. If you have been in an area where ticks are found and you develop symptoms, particularly a skin rash that looks like a red bull’s eye around the bite 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 Lyme disease is not treated, complications of the heart, nervous system or joints can occur.
The only known way to get Lyme disease and HGA is from the bite of an infectious tick. Knowledge of where these ticks are found, Be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease and HGA.
Clinical manifestations of HGA can range from mild to life-threatening depending on the patient's age and general health.
For more info about ticks in Thousand Islands National Park, phone us at 613-923-5261
For more info about Lyme disease:
Government of Ontario
Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s fact sheet on Lyme disease
Public Health Agency of Canada’s fact sheet on Lyme disease
This fact sheet provides basic information only. It must not take the place of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.