Lyme disease: prevention and early detection

by Bill Hodgins | July 13, 2017

Lyme disease - early detection

This information was originally featured in the article, “The face of Lyme Disease” in the July 2017 issue of Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine.

Top 5 tick precautions

•Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tuck your pants into your socks to prevent ticks from getting inside your pants.
•Check your clothes for ticks often. Ticks will climb upwards until they find an area of exposed skin.
•Wear light coloured clothing to make it easier to spot ticks.
•Walk on pathways or trails when possible, staying in the middle. Avoid low-lying brush or long grass.
•Apply insect repellent to your skin and clothing, especially at the openings such as ankle, wrist and neck.
(Source: Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation)

Tick treatment

After a tick has been removed, wash the bite site using soap and water, followed with an antiseptic. Over-the-counter antiseptic medications are available at any pharmacy.
Place the tick in a sealed container or sealable bag and take it to a Public Health unit (humans only, talk to your vet about pet bites) for testing as soon as you can.
If the tick is a Lyme-carrying species, don’t wait for symptoms to develop to see your doctor.

Early detection is key

The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation (CanLyme) was founded in 2003 to provide the public, including medical professionals, with balanced and validated information on Lyme disease and related co-infections. Its website states that there are many strains or genospecies of borrelia that cause Lyme disease in humans, just as there are many strains of the flu virus that cause flu symptoms in humans, with some more virulent than others. According to CanLyme, sufferers of Lyme disease usually go through a three-stage process.
Stage 1: Early infection (first few days after infection)
Stage 2: Infection spreads (days to weeks following infection)
Stage 3: Chronic Lyme (days to weeks after infection if left untreated, or not properly treated, for months/years after infection)

Lyme disease - pets

Lyme disease is most treatable during Stage 1. A delay makes treatment and diagnosis more difficult. Symptoms worsen during each stage of infection, ranging from flu-like symptoms to neurological illnesses, including paralysis. Chronic Lyme disease can affect virtually every system of the body.

Get personal accounts and more information on Lyme disease here.