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For Immediate Release: 
Friday, June 3, 2016

As we are entering the spring and summer months the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit would like to remind you and your family to be aware of ticks to prevent Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is a serious disease that is spread by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. These tiny little creatures can be found in wooded areas such as campgrounds, parks, trails and your backyard.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will begin tick dragging at 3 local areas in Windsor-Essex County on Wednesday May 18, 2016.Tick dragging is an active surveillance method used in Ontario and consists of dragging a white flannel cloth over and around areas where ticks may be present. Ticks collected during the drag are sent away to labs for identification and testing.

Photo opportunity for media: There will be a tick dragging photo opportunity for media. Please call the media contact if you would like to meet Public Health Inspectors during the tick drag.

Reporter Precautions: Wear closed toe shoes, long pants, long sleeves, wear insect repellent with deet.

Date:         Wednesday May 18, 2016

Location:    Ojibway Park (Meet at Nature Centre)
 
Time:         10:00 a.m.

 (Weather permitting. Should the event be cancelled due to rain an email will be sent Wednesday morning by 9:00 a.m.)

Dr. Gary Kirk, Medical Officer of Health and CEO for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, is reminding area residents to protect themselves and their family against ticks when going outdoors.

To reduce your risks of being bitten by a tick:  
• Avoid walking in tall grass and stay to the centre of paths.
• Shower within 2 hours of being outside.
• Do a full body check after being outdoors.
• Cover up. Wear long sleeves and pants.
• Wear light-coloured clothing to spot ticks more easily
• Tuck your pants into your socks and wear closed toed shoes.
• Use insect repellent containing at least 20% DEET on exposed skin and clothing (read and follow directions).
• Keep grass in your yard short.
• Put a tick collar on your pets.
• Check pets after they come in from outdoors.

What to do if you find a tick on your body?
• Use a tick key or tweezers and follow the directions provided here (http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/diseases-conditions-maladies-affections/disease-maladie/lyme/ticks-removal-enlever-tiques-eng.php) to remove a tick. DO NOT squeeze it.
• Gently wash the bite and surrounding area with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.
• Bring the tick to the Health Unit (all 3 locations Windsor, Essex and Leamington offices can take it from you). The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit accepts ticks that are found on human bodies (we do not accept ticks found on animals) between Monday – Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm. Please bring the tick in a closed sealed container with a damp paper towel, along with your health card. If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease, please visit your health care provider.

Lyme Disease Common signs and symptoms:

Initial symptoms differ from person to person, which makes Lyme disease very difficult to diagnose.  Some will experience mild symptoms like fever or a skin rash within 3-30 days after being bitten, while others may suffer severe symptoms, but not for weeks after the bite.

Lyme disease can include one or a combination of the following with varying degrees of severity:

• Rash (may or may not look like a bulls-eye)
• Fatigue
• Fever or chills
• Headache
• Muscle and joint pain, spasms, or weakness
• Swollen lymph nodes

If you develop symptoms of Lyme disease in the weeks after you are bitten, contact your health care provider right away.

For further information on Lyme disease and the symptoms please visit the Health Unit website www.wechu.org

Media Contact: 

Communications Department
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
519-258-2146 ext. 6397 (NEWS)
news@wechu.org