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Keep a lookout for ticks

Spring means tick time in Kamloops.
Image Credit: SOURCE/Wikipedia

Interior Health is reminding everyone planning on spending some quality time outdoors that warm spring weather means ticks are back in season.

“Covering up before you head outdoors and checking for ticks when returning from a walk, hike or bike ride are simple things that go a long way to prevent tick bites,” Dr. Karin Goodison, a public health physician with Interior Health, said in a recent release. “Most tick bites do not cause illness, any bite should be cleaned with soap and water because infection can occur whenever there is a break in the skin.”

The most important way to reduce the risk of tick illness is to check yourself, your children and your pets after being outdoors. You should also walked on cleared trails, wear a hat, long sleeves, pants and light-coloured clothing, tuck in pant legs and use insect repellent containing DEET on uncovered skin.

The Kamloops Hiking Club and local veterinarian offices are also warning of the hazards of ticks to pets, noting all owners should be aware of tick control. Central Animal Hospital warns that while the bite itself is not usually painful ticks can transmit diseases and cause tick paralysis in pets like dogs, cats, rodents, rabbits, cattle and other small mammals. If your pet goes outside regularly the animal hospital recommends using a residual insecticide, applied once a month during tick season.

Most ticks tend to position themselves on the ends of long grasses and branches waiting for a passing body to latch on to. They will then crawl up the body in search of warmth and then will feed on the blood of it's host.

Goodison notes, “approximately 70-80 per cent of people newly infected with Lyme disease will develop a skin rash that looks like a bullseye target and often expands from the site of the tick bite. The rash may be accompanied by fever, headache and aches or pains in muscles and joints. Individuals who experience this rash should see a doctor as soon as possible.” 

Those suffering from Lyme disease can go years before being diagnosed, and are often first misdiagnosed.

While the Lyme disease carrying ticks are less common in the Interior people do travel throughout the province and can carry them on their travels without realizing it, meaning there is a chance of encountering one anywhere in B.C. 

The most common tick species in the Interior are wood ticks, which can carry diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

To contact a reporter for this story, email or call (250)819-3723.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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