What’s the tick situation in the Rouge?
Throughout Rouge National Urban Park, from April to November, there is a small chance of being exposed to Lyme disease if bitten by an infected blacklegged (deer) tick. Lyme disease is a serious illness; however, it's easy to prevent and treat when caught early.
Where are ticks found?
Ticks usually live in woods or tall grasslands. Ticks infected with the Lyme disease bacterium can spread the disease when they feed on blood from their host. Ticks cannot fly – they hang onto small bushes or tall grasses and are usually found close to the ground. They wait for an animal or person to pass nearby and when they make contact, the ticks climb on and attach themselves to the skin to feed.
Who's at risk?
Any person who spends a lot time outdoors (hiking, camping, birding, fishing, etc.), especially in grassy or wooded areas may be at risk. Ticks will attach themselves to wildlife and domestic pets too.
What you can do to stay safe from ticks in the Rouge:
- Stay on official trails – ticks are often found in long grasses.
- Wear protective clothing to prevent ticks from attaching to your skin. Wear closed toed shoes, long sleeve shirts that fit tightly around the wrist, and long-legged pants tucked into your socks or boots.
- Use insect repellents containing DEET. Apply to both clothes and skin. Always read the label and follow instructions for use.
- If possible, avoid contact with low bushes and long grasses. For example, if hiking or walking, stay in the centre of the trail.
- Wear light coloured clothing to help you to find any ticks more easily.
- Check for ticks on and under clothing, especially after being in areas where ticks may live.
- Keep a pair of tweezers and a small bottle of hand sanitizer handy for proper tick removal and treatment.
- A daily skin inspection greatly reduces the risk of infection as ticks may take several hours to two days to attach to the skin and feed. Check areas including armpits, in and around hair, navel, groin, and behind the ears and knees. Also check children and pets.
- Wash clothes promptly and put them in the dryer with heat to help kill any ticks that may remain.
- Shower or bathe within two hours of being outdoors to wash away loose ticks.
For more information on Lyme disease, blacklegged ticks, and how to protect yourself from tick bites while enjoying the outdoors, please visit the following websites: