SIMCOE MUSKOKA DISTRICT HEALTH UNIT
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health unit is encouraging local residents to use a free app to help identify ticks, offering an easy way for people to determine if the tick they have found is a blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis).
The app, eTick.ca, is a photo-based identification platform that can identify the species of tick quickly and accurately. If a blacklegged (Ixodes scapularis) tick is identified people should contact their health care provider.
Due to COVID-19 physical distancing measures, the health unit is no longer accepting submission of ticks. If you are unable to use eTick, your health care provider may submit the tick to the Public Health Ontario Laboratory for identification and subsequent bacterial testing by the National Microbiology Laboratory, however this process can be lengthy.
You can protect yourself from ticks by:
- Wearing light-coloured clothing (which makes it easier to spot ticks) and tucking pants into socks and shirts into pants
- Using insect repellent such as DEET or Icaridin, following manufacturer's recommendations
- When you return from being outdoors:
- do a full body check of yourself, children, and pets; if you find a tick, remove it immediately; and
- shower or bath within two hours to check private areas and wash away any loose ticks that may be on your body or in your hair. If you find a tick attached to the skin, remove it right away. An infected tick has to be attached for more than 24 hours before the bacteria that causes Lyme disease can be transmitted. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, and pull it straight away.
For more information on protecting yourself and your family from ticks and Lyme disease, see the health unit’s website at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org, or call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.