Lyme disease is a serious illness caused by bacteria that are spread through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick (also known as a deer tick). If you think you have been bitten by a tick and are concerned, contact your healthcare provider. If possible, keep the tick and submit it to Public Health for identification.
Ticks are usually found in woody or bushy areas. Ticks do not jump, fly or move very quickly, but will easily latch onto people and pets walking in these areas.
Blacklegged ticks are most commonly found in areas along the north shores of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. They are also common in the Prince Edward County, Kingston, and Ottawa regions, and in and around Pinery Provincial Park along Lake Huron. However, ticks can travel on migratory birds, so you could encounter a blacklegged tick anywhere in the province.
How to prevent ticks bites and Lyme disease
- Download our Tick ID card to carry with you when you’re out in wooded areas.
- Wear light coloured clothing so ticks are easy to see
- Cover up by wearing closed footwear and tucking pants into socks
- Use a repellent that contains DEET or Icaridin and follow the manufacturer’s directions
- Perform full-body checks on yourself, children and pets
- Find out how Lyme disease is identified and treated
What to do if you’ve been bitten by a tick
If you’ve been bitten by a tick, remove it carefully using tweezers following these instructions or a tick remover. Never use petroleum jelly, heat or nail polish to remove a tick. These increase the likelihood that the tick will spread bacteria, viruses and parasites. Keep the tick submerged in rubbing alcohol in a sealed container and submit it to us for identification by calling 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4753.
A tick must be actively feeding to spread bacteria, including the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. A tick that is feeding will look swollen and oversized. It may become a pale shade of blue or green. Lyme disease may be prevented through the use of antibiotics if detected soon enough. Contact your healthcare provider if you are concerned.