Watch out for wood ticks, warns local resident

Dwayne Davis returned home after house sitting for friend with an unwelcome guest.

Dwayne Davis returned home after house sitting for friend with an unwelcome guest.

Davis suspects it was during walks with his dog in an area north of the city that a wood tick secured itself on his body eventually planting itself in his belly button.

He wasn’t alerted to his parasitic guest until approximately 12 hours later when he noticed a rash growing around his midriff.

He suspects the tick hitch-hiked on his shoe and later migrated up his body.

Davis removed the tick intact and flushed it down the toilet, a mistake in hindsight he says as the tick may have been useful in determining whether it carried Lyme disease.

Removing the tick did not remedy the problem however; instead, the hives grew larger.

Davis became concerned enough to attend the emergency room where he was told that his affliction was likely an allergic reaction and was given the corresponding medication.

He waited a week thinking the symptoms would dissipate. Instead they progressed to aching in his lower back and joints.

His ears started to ring and he started to get lockjaw. At that point he pursued medical attention. A doctor told him he had a “case of Lyme disease,” and prescribed antibiotics which alleviated the condition.

Davis says he’s on the mend but wants to remind the public that Lyme disease could be in the area.

The Interior Health Authority reports wood ticks to be common but says they do not carry the disease. Rather, the carriers are more common in the coastal areas of B.C.

The wood tick, says the health authority, can carry other diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

As well they can contain toxins that cause temporary muscle weakness and paralysis if they are attached for several days.

The signs of tick-borne infections can include fever, headache, muscle pain and rash.

Between 70 to 80 per cent of people infected with Lyme disease develop small red bumps at the site of the tick bite for several days.

The redness then spreads out into a circular rash eventually resembling a target.

The health authority suggests individuals who experience this type of rash to see their doctor as soon as possible.

Preventative measures include walking on cleared trails when in long 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 all uncovered skin; carefully checking clothing and scalp when leaving an area where ticks may live and regularly checking household pets for ticks.

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