The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is providing free tick removal cards to residents and visitors to use if needed after they go hiking or cycling in the woods or in fields with tall grass. The specially-designed cards make it easier to remove any ticks that may have attached themselves to legs, arms, or other areas of the body. The card fits inside a wallet, and is available at local pharmacies within the EOHU region.
A list of pharmacies that will have the cards, while quantities last, is available on the EOHU website at www.eohu.ca/lyme. There are also suggestions on reducing the risk of attracting ticks.
Ticks, like mosquitoes, draw blood from their hosts. Removing ticks must be done with care to avoid leaving the head still attached to a person’s body. The black-legged species of tick is also a carrier of Lyme disease and there are some areas within the EOHU region where hikers may encounter black-legged ticks.
The symptoms of Lyme disease may appear within three to 30 days after a tick bite. The symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint ache, stiff neck, decreased appetite, fatigue, swollen glands, and a possible rash.
Immediate removal of a black-legged tick within a 24-hour period reduces the risk of Lyme disease infection. Amyone affected by any symptoms should contact a doctor. If not treated right away with antibiotics, Lyme disease symptoms can reoccur and may create problems affecting a person’s heart, nervous system or joints.