Lyme disease is a serious illness caused by the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. Because these ticks are most often found in forests and the overgrown areas between the woods and open spaces, hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts are at risk of tick bites. In Canada, blacklegged ticks are most abundant in:
Southern British Columbia
Southeastern and south-central Manitoba
Southern, eastern and northwestern Ontario
Southern New Brunswick and Grand Manan Island
Parts of Nova Scotia
Ticks are small, ranging from the size of a poppy seed to a pea. The size of the tick varies depending on its age and whether it has fed recently. The bite is usually painless so you may not know that you have been bitten.
Early treatment of Lyme disease is critical, however Lyme is very difficult to diagnose because symptoms vary from person to person. There are over 100 known symptoms of Lyme disease. Common symptoms include:
Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible—do not wait for it to detach.