Safety tips from Health Canada
Heading outdoors? Remember to protect yourself from ticks and mosquitoes!
The best way to protect yourself from Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites, same as the best way to avoid becoming infected with West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites. Getting rid of tick and mosquito habitats near your home will help reduce the risk of contracting these diseases.
Here are some ways to protect yourself if you venture into wooded or forested areas located within risk areas for Lyme disease:
- Wear light coloured long-sleeved shirts and pants to spot ticks more easily.
- Tuck your shirt into your pants, and pull your socks over your pant legs.
- Use bug spray containing DEET or Icaridin on your skin and clothing (always follow directions on the label).
- Walk on cleared paths or walkways.
- Do a daily full-body check for ticks on yourself and your children, especially in the hair, under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs and around the waist.
- If you find an attached tick, remove it with tweezers immediately. Removing it within 24-36 hours can help prevent infection (watch the How to properly remove a tick video for more details).
- Also watch the Enjoy the outdoors, without a tick video.
To reduce tick habitats near your home:
- Mow the lawn regularly to keep the grass short.
- Remove leaf litter, brush and weeds at the edge of the lawn and around stonewalls and woodpiles.
- Treat pets that are commonly exposed to ticks with oral or topic acaricides (as recommended by your veterinarian) as they could carry ticks into the home.
As for mosquitoes, they are often most active at dawn (first light) and dusk (just before dark). To prevent bites when outside:
- Long, loose-fitting, long sleeves and light-coloured clothing (mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours)
- Socks and a hat (try a mosquito net over your hat to protect your head)
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET or Icaridin
To reduce mosquito habitats near your home:
- Get rid of standing water (water that does not move or flow) where mosquitoes lay eggs
- Put screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.