As May kicks off Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Manitoba, there are a few important things you should know to protect yourself from tick-borne diseases.
The province says Manitobans should regularly check themselves for ticks after spending time outdoors, knowing where blacklegged ticks are located, minimizing the risk of exposure, and recognizing the signs and symptoms of tick-borne diseases.
“Blacklegged ticks, which can carry anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Lyme disease, are most commonly found within and along the edge of forests and in areas with thick, woody shrubs and other vegetation,” the province said. “These ticks are more often found from early spring through late fall. The smaller nymphs are difficult to see and are most abundant during late spring and summer.”
Blacklegged ticks found within these risk areas are more likely to carry the agents that cause anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Lyme disease. While blacklegged ticks can be found outside of these blacklegged tick risk areas, the risk of tick-borne disease transmission is lower.
How to protect yourself
• apply an appropriate tick repellent, following label directions, on exposed skin and clothing;
• inspect yourself, children and pets after spending time outdoors;
• remove ticks as soon as possible from people and pets;
• stay to the centre of walking trails;
• wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts; and
• keep grass and shrubs around homes cut short to create drier environments that are less suitable for blacklegged tick survival.
People who think they may have anaplasmosis, babesiosis or Lyme disease should see their doctor.