A warm spring has ticks out in full force.

A warm spring has ticks out in full force.

Early spring brings out ticks

Interior Health is warning the public of an early spring tick season.

  • Mar. 26, 2015 9:00 a.m.

Interior Health is warning the public of an early spring tick season.

The early arrival of spring weather translates to more people spending time enjoying the great outdoors, however, IH notes humans aren’t the only ones basking in the unseasonable warmth.

The change in weather also brings out ticks — small bugs that feed on the blood of humans and animals and can sometimes transmit disease.

“Ticks are most often found in tall grass and wooded areas, so covering up before you head outdoors and checking for ticks on yourself, your children and your pets after being outdoors are simple things that go a long way to prevent tick bites,” said Gwen Barker, communicable disease specialist with IH.

The most common tick species in the IH region is the wood tick, which does not carry the lyme disease bacteria.

Barker said the wood tick can, however, carry other diseases such as rocky mountain spotted fever, although it is very rare. She added some ticks also have toxins that can cause temporary muscle weakness and paralysis if attached for several days, but the symptoms fade once the tick is removed.

Signs of many tick-borne infections can be similar and include fever, headache, muscle pain and rash.

The tick species that carries lyme disease (Ixodes pacificus) is more common in the coastal areas of B.C., but may also be present in low number in the Interior, Barker said.

“Less than one per cent of Ixodes ticks in B.C. carry lyme disease,” she said. “In addition to fever, headache and muscle pain, people infected with lyme disease will often develop a rash that looks like a ‘bull’s eye’ target and expands from the site of the tick bite.

“Most tick bites do not result in illness, however, all tick bites should be cleaned as an infection can occur whenever there is a break in the skin. It’s important to watch for signs of tick-transmitted illnesses. ANyone who experiences a bull’s-eye rash or other symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible.”

Other precautions include:

• Walking on cleared trails when in tall grass or wooded areas

• Wearing a hat, long sleeves, pants and light-coloured clothing

• Tucking pant legs into socks or boots

• Applying insect repellent containing DEET on uncovered skin

• Carefully checking clothing and scalp (covered or not) when leaving an area where ticks may live

• Having a shower after returning from areas where ticks may live

To reduce ticks from entering your home and yard try these steps:

• Keep your lawn short and remove any fallen leaves and weeds

• Keep a buffer area such as wood-chip or gravel border between your lawn and wooded areas or stone walls.

Any play equipment or play zones should be kept away from wooded areas

• Trim tree branches to allow more sunlight in your yard

• Keep wood piles and bird feeders away from the house

• Widen and maintain trails on your property

If you find a tick on yourself, a family member or pet wear gloves and gently remove it.

Needle-nose tweezers can be used to gently grasp the tick close to the skin. Without squeezing, pull the tick straight out.

Be careful not to crush the tick as this could cause it to inject its stomach contents into your skin. After removal, clean the area with soap and water.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A 100 Mile RCMP officer stands watch at the intersction of Highway 97 and Horse Lake Road. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Volunteers, police search Highway 97 for articles related to high-speed chase

Search will stretch from Canco Gas Station in Lac La Hache to 150 Mile House.

An aerial photograph captures snowmobile tracks in the Cameron Ridge area earlier this year, which is closed to snowmobilers. The closures are in place to protect sensitive caribou herds. (Conservation Officer Service photo)
Snowmobilers fined for operating in closed caribou habitat near Likely, B.C.

The investigation revealed they had spent several hours in the closure leaving extensive tracks

The RCMP arrest one of the suspects on Highway 97 courtesy of cell phone footage shot by a bystander. (April Thomas photo)
WATCH: Two suspects arrested after multi-jurisdictional chase

A half dozen police cars were seen heading north on Highway 97

Commercial tenants at the Williams Lake Regional Airport have been granted an additional six-month rent reprieve. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Continuing rent relief for Williams Lake Airport tenants considered

City council discussed the option during a committee of the whole meeting

The Grade 2 class of 150 Mile House Elementary attended Cariboo Memorial Hospital with teacher Kirsty Bowers to deliver “kindness” bags full of small gifts to housekeeping staff. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
150 Mile House students deliver gift bags showing appreciation for hospital staff

Students begin Monday morning with a bus trip to Cariboo Memorial Hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Two Vancouver police officers were struck by a car when the driver learned he was being arrested for allegedly using a fraudulent credit card to pay for food. (Vancouver Police Department)
Driver being arrested for alleged food order fraud rams Vancouver police with car

Two officers are in stable condition, suffering with soft tissue injuries following the incident

A discarded blue surgical mask is shown hanging in a bush in Montreal, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
B.C. RMT suspended for not wearing a mask after confirmed by undercover clients

College of Massage Therapists has 5 open files, said suspension necessary to protect public

Accident rates, injury claims and court costs have driven ICBC into deficit in recent years. (Black Press Media)
Judge rejects taking lawyers out of minor ICBC injury cases

Ruling the latest setback for B.C. NDP’s insurance cost reforms

Most Read