While the risk of exposure to Lyme disease, caused by blacklegged ticks, is low in Saskatchewan, health officials are advising that residents take precautions to protect themselves and enjoy the outdoors.
“People should check themselves, their children and their pets for ticks after spending time outdoors,” says Saskatchewan Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Julie Kryzanowski. “Taking precautions, like pulling your socks up over your pant legs and using effective insect repellents, will reduce the risk of tick bites.”
To mitigate the risk tick bites:
- Wear light-coloured clothes so ticks can be easily seen
- Wear pants, long-sleeved shirts, and shoes that do not expose your bare feet
- Pull socks over your pant legs to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET or Icaridin. Apply repellent to clothes as well as your skin (under sunscreen). Always read and follow the directions on the label. Some repellents may have age restrictions.
- In Canada, clothing that has been treated with the insecticide permethrin has been approved for use by people over the age of 16
- Shower or bathe as soon as possible after being outside to wash off loose ticks
- Do full-body tick checks as soon as possible after being outside on yourself, your children, and pets
To remove ticks from your skin or pet:
- Carefully remove it with fine-tipped tweezers and grasp the tick’s mouthparts as close to the skin as possible
- For a video demonstration on how to remove a tick, please visit saskatchewan.ca/lyme
- Do not put Vaseline, gasoline, or other harmful substances on an attached tick
- You may also submit photos of the tick using the eTick system (www.etick.ca). Please keep ticks in a secure container until you receive the identification results as you may be requested to submit them by mail for further study
- Ticks should not be submitted by mail unless requested
- Ticks can be euthanized by placing them in a bag and storing them in the freezer 24-hours
In 2022, 1,308 ticks were identified in the province and 17 were blacklegged ticks.