WHAT IS IT?
Lyme disease is a serious condition caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria transmitted by certain species of ticks.
HOW CAN IT BE CONTRACTED?
Lyme disease is an infectious disease transmitted by the bites of infected ticks. Ticks need blood to survive, so they tether themselves to animals and humans for food. Ticks are infected with the bacterium responsible for Lyme disease when they feed on infected wild animals such as birds or rodents.
Once infected, ticks can transmit the bacteria to humans and pets, especially dogs. In most cases, the infected tick must be fixed and must feed for at least 24 hours before the bacteria are transmitted.
The ticks are very small (can be as small as a poppy seed) and their bites are generally not painful, so you may have been stung without knowing it.
Blacklegged ticks are most commonly found in wooded or forested areas, in dead leaves on the ground, or on shrubs and tall grasses in parts of Canada. You may be more pricked by a tick if you are working outdoors or doing outdoor activities.
There is no evidence that the disease can be transmitted from one human to another. Pets can transport untied ticks and potentially infected ticks in your home and garden, which can increase your risk of tick bites. You can not be directly infected by your pet.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Symptoms of Lyme disease may be different from one person to another.
Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can occur 3 to 30 days after being stung by an infected blacklegged tick. Symptoms may range from flu-like symptoms to more severe symptoms occurring weeks later.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of possible signs and symptoms:
- a rash
- muscle and joint pain
- swollen lymph nodes
When the symptoms are not treated, they can worsen, last for months or even years.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE TREATMENTS?
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. Diagnosis is based on symptoms, laboratory tests and assessment of the situation surrounding the tick bite.
An antibiotic treatment over several weeks will be necessary if the diagnosis is made. Symptoms can sometimes extend up to 6 months after treatment.
HOW CAN I PREVENT IT?
- Protect yourself from tick bites, especially during outdoor activities or camping in forest areas or farmland.
- Wear long pants, hats and long sleeves. Put on socks and shoes closed to cover your feet.
- If you are traveling in risky destinations, avoid frequenting forested and scrubby areas with high grass and thick leaves.
- It is best to take a walk on hiking trails and not get out of them
- Use a repellent containing 20% or more of DEET and provides long-lasting protection. Before using, follow the instructions of the product and follow the instructions, especially for children. When using sunscreen, apply it first and then the insect repellent to the second place, waiting 20-30 minutes in between. Avoid applying the repellent to the eyes, mouth and hands.
You can also treat your clothes with permethrin. Otherwise, buy directly treated clothes that offer safe protection even if you wash them several times. Do not apply permethrin directly to the skin.
- Check for ticks on your entire body: under the arms, around the ears, on the navel, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist and especially in the hair. To do this, put yourself in front of a mirror that displays all the parts of your body.
- As soon as you find a tick, be sure to remove it with a tick or tweezers so that it does not regurgitate its toxins in the body or that part of the tick remains inside the skin.
- Keep an eye on your children and pets. Be careful, as these mite arachnids can hide on equipment and dry-weather clothes.
If you think you have lyme disease and some signs occur, check with your doctor as soon as possible, especially if fever occurs.
WHAT TO DO IF I BELIEVE HAVING CONTRACTED LYME DISEASE?
See your doctor immediately if you think you have been infected with lyme disease in a known risk area. The earlier the diagnosis is made, the greater the chance that the treatment will be successful.
To remove a tick, a special technique must be used, for more information: https://www.canada.ca/en/health_service/support/system-system/support-statistics-and-presenter- purpose-analyse.html
Keep the tick for analytical purposes if needed when you go to see your doctor.