DON’T BE A TARGET
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM LYME DISEASE
Lyme disease is spread by bites from ticks infected with certain bacteria. Ticks are between 1 and 3 millimeters across before they fill up on blood. The bite may result in a rash that could quickly grow to more than 5 centimeters in size and possibly target-shaped. Untreated Lyme disease can cause serious health problems weeks, months, or even years after the bite.
Ticks are found mainly in forests, woods and tall grass and have been seen in several areas of Québec.
Here are some ways to protect yourself from ticks when you’re outdoors:
• Stick to trails and avoid tall grass.
• Use insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin on exposed skin, but avoid your face.
• Wear light-coloured clothing so ticks will be easier to see.
• Wear a hat, closed footwear, and long pants and sleeves.
• Tuck your pants into your socks.
If you’re bitten by a tick and it remains on the skin, it is important to remove it carefully as soon as possible (within 24 hours after the bite). This will reduce the risk of Lyme disease infection.
On returning from outdoor activities in woods or tall grass, examine your entire body carefully for ticks that might remain on the skin. Examine any children carefully as well. Ticks are very small and can be difficult to see.
Examine your pets, clothing, and equipment (backpacks, coats, etc.) before going indoors. Any ticks that get inside might end up biting people or pets later.
HOW TO REMOVE A TICK STUCK TO THE SKIN
1. Grasp the tick with tweezers as close as possible to the skin. Avoid pressing on the insect’s abdomen since that increases the risk of transmitting the infection.
2. Pull off the tick gently, bit by bit, but be careful not to twist or crush it.
3. Wash your skin with soap and water and wash your hands thoroughly.
4. Save the tick in a sealed container. Write down the date and place where you were bitten and where the bite was on your body. This information could be used to watch the evolution of Lyme disease in Quebec.
If Lyme disease symptoms appear within 30 days after having been bitten, call Info-Santé 8-1-1 or see a doctor and bring the tick with you.
For more information on the symptoms of Lyme disease and at-risk regions, visit Portail santé mieux-être at www.sante.gouv.qc.ca