Ticks, related to the spider family, are quite small and you can easily miss seeing one. Unlike other insects, ticks have a very hard body. You can’t kill them by swatting them like a mosquito. You can’t crush them on a hard surface with your finger. A tick bite is painless and easy to miss.
The danger of a tick bite is that some ticks, Blacklegged ticks (Ioxdes scapularis; Deer Ticks) may be carrying Lyme disease (a bacterial infection). Blacklegged ticks are most often found in forests, wooded areas, shrubs, tall grass and leaf piles. Therefore, blacklegged ticks are found along the trails in Ontario, including the Grand Valley, the Bruce Trail and other trails.
Understanding and learning how to deal with ticks is important for hikers.
If you have been bitten, as a precaution, contact your doctor. Please refer to our reference material links below for more information.
Lyme disease is an infection transmitted through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. The majority of human cases occur as a result of exposure to areas known to have infected blacklegged ticks. Early symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue and an expanding red rash.
The best prevention is to avoid tick bites by using insect repellent, wearing proper clothing, removing ticks as soon as possible after bites and removing tick habitats from around the home.
The most effective way to fight Lyme disease is to ward off tick bites. Here's how to protect yourself while outside:
Wear long sleeves and pants, as well as light-coloured clothing.
Wear hats, button up your shirt, tuck your long pants into your socks, or wear gaiters.
Use bug repellent that contains DEET or incaridin.
Stay on pathways or in the middle of trails.
Search your clothes and body for the pest.
Take a shower or bath afterwards.
See references below for more information on ticks, bite prevention and Lyme disease symptoms.