Government of New Brunswick

The best way to protect against Lyme disease and other tick borne illness is to reduce your exposure to ticks.  Take the following precautions to minimize your risk, especially in areas where tick populations are established or emerging

 

  • Avoid direct contact with ticks.  Ticks prefer wooded and bushy areas with tall grass and leaf litter. Avoid these areas and walk in the middle of trails.
  • Use insect repellents containing DEET or Icaradin as approved by Health Canada. Insect repellents can effectively repel ticks. Repellents may be applied to clothing as well as exposed skin but should not be applied to skin underneath clothing. Always read and follow label directions.
  • Wear protective clothing to limit the access of ticks to your skin. This includes enclosed shoes, long-sleeved shirts that fit tightly around the wrist and are tucked into pants, and long-legged pants tucked into socks or boots. Light coloured clothing help the wearer to spot ticks.
  • Other insecticides, such as permethrin, can be impregnated into clothing.  Permethirin is not currently available in Canada but for persons travelling to highly endemic areas it is recommended to apply permethrin treatments to clothing or use clothing pre-treated with permethrin.  

If you find a tick attached to your skin, it is important to remove the tick safely and as soon as possible.  There are several tick removal devices available or a plain set of fine tipped tweezers remove attached ticks effectively.  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.

With tweezers grasp the tick's head as close to the skin surface as possible.  Pull slowly upward with steady, even pressure until the tick is removed. Do not twist or rotate the tick. After removing the tick, wash the site of attachment with soap and water, or disinfect with alcohol or household antiseptic. 

 

removetick-e
  • Do full body tick checks daily.  Check children too.  Look for ticks on clothing and skin and remove them immediately. Ticks can attach anywhere but are often found in hard-to-see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp.  Blacklegged ticks are very small and difficult to see so look carefully. Immature ticks called nymphs are less than 2 mm.  Use a mirror to view all parts of your body. A magnifying glass can help spot ticks.  In general, infected ticks need to be embedded in skin for about 24 to 36 hours before they transmit the disease to the person.
  • Examine gear and pets for ticks after spending time outdoors.  Talk with your veterinarian about Lyme disease in pets and using tick repellents on your pet.
  • Shower or bathe as soon as possible after coming indoors, preferably within 2 hours, to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you
  • Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors.  If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed.  If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks effectively. If the clothes cannot be washed in hot water, tumble dry on low heat for 90 minutes or high heat for 60 minutes. The clothes should be warm and completely dry.
     
  • If you are bitten by a tick, look for the early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.  Early symptoms after a tick bite (3 to 30 days) include fever, muscle pain, joint pain, headache and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans.
  • See your family doctor if, within 30 days of removing a tick, you develop a bull’s eye target rash or if you have flu-like symptoms. Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics. Early treatment almost always results in full recovery.

Ticks can live in small patches of woodland, including those found in back yards, but are rarely found on lawns.  You can make your yard less attractive to ticks depending on how you landscape.  For more information see the Tick Management Handbook.  Here are some simple techniques:

  • Remove leaves, clear brush, and tall grass around your house and at the edges of lawns.
  • Keep the grass mowed,
  • Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees and place them in a sunny location, if possible