Tick, Lyme disease season hits Windsor-Essex
It's tick season and the Essex Region Conservation Authority has already received a number of complaints about the insects this year.
There are a number of tick species in the region, but it's the black-legged deer tick that is the most common carrier of Lyme disease.
ERCA biologist Dan Lebedyk says you can get any number of ticks under your skin by walking through wooded areas.
Ticks carry Lyme disease have been found in Point Pelee and Long Point, but the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says there have only been a handful of cases of Lyme disease reported in this area in the last three years.
In 2011 were two confirmed cases and one probable case; in 2012 there were no cases reported; and this year, there has been one case deemed probable. It's still being investigated.
Alyssa Russell found three ticks on her daughter Caili after she came home from a field trip to Hillman Marsh on Monday.
"It's kind of gross, not so nice, but we have seen quite a few out here in the last few weeks," Russell said. "They're definitely on the increase and not nice for the kids to have on them."
The Russells live on the beach in Colchester where the ticks are prevalent but many there could be wood ticks, which are harmless.
"You'll actually feel their bite whereas the ... black legged ticks you may not even sense the bite from that tick," Lebedyk said.
The black legged ticks that carry Lyme disease are found on deer, which according to naturalist Karen Cedar at the Ojibway Nature Centre, are coming closer to humans with the loss of habitat.
"We know that the tick is here. We know that the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is here, so the real message, which we need to focus on, is prevention," Cedar said.
The health unit says if people go into the woods or walk through tall grass they should wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants with the legs tucked into the socks. People should also spray themselves with insect repellent containing DEET and check themselves afterwards for the ticks.
If a tick is found, they should be removed within 24 hours before they burrow under the skin.
A bulls eye-shaped rash indicates infection.
Ticks should be carefully remove with tweezers taken in a jar to a doctor or the health unit for testing.