What you should know to protect against Ticks in Alberta
The incidence of ticks are rising in Alberta, but don’t let that spoil your fun outdoors this spring and summer. What you should know about Ticks and Lyme disease and how to protect yourself and your loved ones from the pesty critters while enjoying the outdoors. Ticks are parasites that will attached themselves to bare skin and bury themselves under the skin to feast on the host’s blood.
Although most ticks do not cause serious health problems, they can carry a number of diseases, the most feared of which is Lyme disease.
It is important to remove the tick immediately and submit it for testing:
The bacteria causing Lyme disease is almost always found in the Blacklegged Tick. You can see from the Government of Canada website that Alberta is a low risk area for Lyme disease. Those most at risk are those that golf, hunt, camp, hike and fish but also children who play outdoors in long grass, bush or trees.
Lyme disease risk areas in Canada
What this means for Albertans
- From 2013 to 2016, there was almost a three-fold increase in the number of ticks submitted by Albertans. The proportion of blacklegged ticks positive for B. burgdorferi has not increased.
- Based on the current evidence, blacklegged ticks are not reproducing in Alberta.
- In Alberta, the risk of being bitten by a blacklegged tick is low. The risk of being bitten by a blacklegged tick infected with B. burgdorferi, the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease in humans, is even lower.
Lyme disease cases in Alberta
Between 1991 and 2016, 87 cases of Lyme disease were reported to Alberta Health. All were reported as having been acquired while travelling outside of the province in areas where the bacteria causing Lyme disease and the ticks that carry it are known to circulate.
Spotting a Tick
A tick burrowing into the skin
Check yourself for ticks:
Ticks thrive in moist dark places so once indoors, strip down and check armpits, behind your knees, groin, hairline, under your belt, belly button and small crevices between your toes and behind your ears.
How to remove a Tick:
- Use tweezers, grasping the tick as close to the bite site as possible.
- If no tweezers use your fingers and pull directly up – avoid twisting.
- Wash the site with soap and water immediately.
- Submit the tick for testing.
Protect yourself and your children:
- Wear close toed shoes and tuck your pants into your socks.
- Tuck your shirt into your pants.
- Wear light colored clothing to allow you to spots ticks easier.
- Use insect repellant.
- Drying your clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes will kill ticks.
- Shower or bath after being outdoors will reduce the chance for ticks to attach themselves
For more information: