Summertime is danger time for ticks

Check for ticks on yourself and your pets, say provincial officials

Authorities are warning Albertans to take the time and check for ticks — on themselves and their pets.

The threat isn’t tick bites, but the chance a tick could transmit Lyme disease, said the registrar of the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA).

“There have been approximately 100 human cases of Lyme disease reported by Albertans since the early ’90s but all originated outside of the province,” Dr. Darrell Dalton said in a news release.

“Nevertheless, given the human and animal health risks, there’s a surveillance program in place to monitor the spread of the disease, and successful surveillance requires a vigilant public to check for ticks and signs of infection.”

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If you’ve been in an area where ticks might be present — such as long grass or bush — check for them afterwards. The ABVMA is urging pet owners to do the same.

A common sign of Lyme disease — in humans and dogs — is a round, red rash that looks like a bull’s-eye target (although that type of rash isn’t always present). Humans experience flu-like symptoms (tiredness, headaches, sore muscles and joints and fever).

“It is thought to take 36 to 48 hours before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted, so it’s important to remove a tick as quickly as possible,” the ABVMA noted in its news release.

To remove a tick, use tweezers (gently grasping the head and mouth near the skin); slowly pull; and then wash and disinfect the area around the bite. Using a match isn’t recommended.

The province has an extensive tick-testing program and wants the public to submit ticks they find. For details go to the Alberta government website.

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