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Toronto Public Health warn public to be aware of ticks ahead of long weekend

A blacklegged tick found at Morningside Park in Scarborough on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Erica Natividad/CITYNEWS

With the long weekend fast approaching, Toronto Public Health (TPH) wants residents who venture outdoors to be vigilant when it comes to blacklegged ticks — the only type of tick in Ontario that can transmit Lyme disease.

Health officials, and Board of Health Chair, Joe Cressy, were at Morningside Park in Scarborough on Thursday to raise awareness and share tips on how to prevent tick bites.

“Spending time outdoors is a great way to be active and stay healthy, but it’s important for everyone to know how to protect themselves against tick bites and to recognize the early signs or symptoms of Lyme disease,” Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto Medical Officer of Health, said in a release.

According to TPH, blacklegged ticks “are usually found in bushy or wooded areas where there are lots of leaves on the ground or where there are tall grasses. The most effective way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites.”

During the presentation a blacklegged tick was spotted. (photo below)

TPH tracks the locations where blacklegged ticks have been found. You can check if they’ve been spotted in your area, and learn how to avoid tick bites below:

Results of active blacklegged tick surveillance by CityNewsToronto on Scribd

How to avoid tick bites: (Source: Toronto Public Health)

  • Wear long pants and long sleeves.
  • Light coloured clothing may make ticks easier to spot.
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • After spending time outdoors in wooded or bushy areas, shower to remove ticks before they become attached.
  • Carefully check your full body and head for attached ticks.
  • If you find a tick on your body, remove it as soon as possible.
  • Remember to also check your children and pets for ticks.

 

On your property:

  • Mow the lawn regularly.
  • Remove leaf litter, brush and weeds from the edge of the lawn.
  • Keep tree branches and shrubs trimmed to let in more sunlight.
  • Move children’s swing sets and sandboxes away from the woodland’s edge and consider placing them on a woodchip or mulch foundation.
  • Ticks feed on rodents, deer and birds. Discourage rodents by sealing stonewalls and small openings around the yard. Use plantings that do not attract deer or exclude deer by fencing. Keep bird feeders away from the house.

 

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