Ticks are external parasites of the Arachnid family. There are two groups – hard and soft ticks. Ticks are unable to fly, they do not jump and typically hide in grass or bushes or climb vegetation and wait for a human or pet to brush by them. A home can become infested by ticks in the larval form. At this stage they are about the size of a pinhead or smaller and carry fewer viruses than fully grown ones. Not all tick bites result in disease however it may secrete saliva that contains neurotoxins and can transmit a number of diseases including rocky mountain fever, lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and tularemia. In a pet dog, illnesses like tick paralysis and tick fever can be transmitted. Most ticks require from 3 to 7 days to feed fully and once engorged, they drop from the host (animal/person). Ticks can survive for a long time without feeding and should be killed or exterminated as soon as possible after you notice an infestation. If you spot a tick on your skin, do not squeeze it, using tweezers, hold the tick by the head as close to the skin as possible and slowly pull it straight out. Clean and disinfect the area with alcohol or antiseptic. The first sign of infection is typically a circular rash like a bull’s eye and common symptoms include fatigue, fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes. If you notice any of these flu like symptoms after tick removal, consult your doctor immediately for treatment. Tips to prevent tick infestation include maintaining your lawns and gardens, wear protective clothing and apply tick repellant when venturing outdoors in areas where ticks are common. Contact us prior to the season for a tick repellent treatment in and around your house.
The tick responsible for the spread of Lyme disease is found along the northeastern seaboard of the United States, and New York State, and in the Long Point and Point Pelee areas of Ontario since the early 1990s. It was also found in the 1000 Islands region of Eastern Ontario in 2006 and is moving northward. New risk areas include Murphy’s Point Provincial Park and surrounding areas