What to do if you find a tick attached to you or your pet
- Remove it carefully using tweezers following Health Canada’s: How to remove a tick (online instructions) / How to properly remove a tick (video) or with a tick remover. Remove the tick as soon as possible. Removing ticks within 24 hours reduces the risk of infection.
- Take a photo of the tick and send to Public Health for identification using our *new* Online Tick Photo Submission Form.
- Note: Submitting tick photos helps identify blacklegged ticks to collect local data on where blacklegged ticks are being found and how often. Public Health does not test ticks for the presence of harmful microorganisms (like Lyme disease).
- While waiting for a response, please do not discard the tick. The tick should be placed in a small jar with some rubbing alcohol.
If you have concerns about a tick bite, contact your healthcare provider (or veterinarian for your pet) immediately.
- Flick or scratch an attached tick
- Use petroleum jelly, heat, or nail polish to remove a tick (these take too long to work)
- Remove a tick while holding it around the middle (abdomen)
- Burn an attached tick
These methods increase the chance of forcing harmful microorganisms out of the tick and into your bloodstream.
Blacklegged ticks and Lyme disease
Lyme disease is a serious illness caused by bacteria spread through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick (also known as a deer tick).
Blacklegged ticks are usually found in woody or bushy areas, or areas with tall grass, but because they can be carried by birds it is possible to encounter them in most places. Ticks do not jump, fly or move very quickly, but will wait on low-growing vegetation and then easily latch onto people and animals that brush against them.
For information about risk areas in Ontario, please refer to Public Health Ontario’s Lyme Disease Estimated Risk Areas Map. Always take precautions in woody or bushy areas, or areas with tall grass, even if they have not been identified as higher risk areas on the map.
An infected Blacklegged tick must be actively feeding for at least 24 hours to transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Early stages of Lyme disease may be treated with antibiotics if detected soon enough. Contact your healthcare provider if you are concerned.
How to prevent tick bites and Lyme disease
- Download our Tick ID card (PDF, 2 pages, 288 KB) to carry with you
- 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
- When you get home, put your clothes in the dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes before washing them
- Find out how Lyme disease is identified and treated
- Find out how to reduce ticks around your home
Ticks and Climate Change
Climate change is reshaping the landscape of tickborne disease risks here in Ontario. Rising temperatures and longer warm seasons are leading to more abundant tick populations as well as increased tick activity levels and range in Ontario. Ticks are expanding into regions where they were once uncommon and is estimated to continue to expand northward. Across Ontario and Canada, the chance that you may encounter a tick continues to grow and with that comes an increasing risk of tick-borne diseases.
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