Tick risk is growing in Alberta, warns Nature Conservancy of Canada
Bites can cause serious infections, including Lyme disease
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is warning those heading outside this summer to be on the lookout for ticks, which can cause bacterial infections, including Lyme disease.
Some species, including the blacklegged tick (a.k.a. deer tick), can infect humans and have been increasing in number alongside a warming climate. They can be found in parts of Alberta.
Katelyn Ceh, the director of conservation with the Nature Conservancy in Alberta, says people shouldn't be afraid to go outside, but should take precautions.
"Wear bug repellant containing DEET, long sleeves, light-coloured clothing, tuck everything in (including your pants into your socks), stay in the middle of trails, take a bath or shower after a hike and always check your clothes and body for ticks after a hike because they can be as small as a poppy seed," said Ceh in a news release.
The organization says ticks are usually found close to the ground, hiding in shady areas like tall grass. It recommends hikers stick to the middle of trails and sit on rocks, rather than grass, when taking a break.
It also says those who find ticks that have attached themselves to their skin should remove them with tweezers, ensuring they don't squash the insect, and recommend sending any live specimens to the Canada Public Health Agency for testing.
Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics but should be dealt with as quickly as possible to ensure full recovery.
The Nature Conservancy says there were just 144 cases of Lyme disease reported in 2009, a number that shot up to 2,025 in 2017.