Employee Health Services - Ticks and Lyme Disease

What's all this Talk about Ticks?

We are talking about ticks as there are some areas in Ontario that are infected by ticks which carry Lyme disease.

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection, and in Ontario, Lyme disease is carried by some black-legged (deer) ticks. 

Who is most at risk?

The image shows the size and colour of female black-legged ticks in various stages of feeding. Source: Public health agency of Canada.

Found a tick? 

The City of Hamilton website, provides information regarding the steps to follow in order to safely remove ticks, and information on getting a tick tested for Lyme disease (illustration on the right).

The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid tick bites.

  • wear closed-toe shoes, long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • pull your socks over your pant legs
  • wear light coloured clothes to spot ticks easier
  • use insect repellent that contains DEET (common active ingredient to keep biting bugs away) or Icaridin (always read and follow label directions)
  • shower or bathe within two hours of being outdoors to wash away loose ticks
  • do daily "full body" checks for ticks on yourself, your partner, children and pets
  • ticks attach themselves to the skin and removing them within 24-36 hours usually prevents infection.
The illustration demonstrates the safe removal of a tick.

You can reduce tick habitats near your home by:

Keeping your lawn and yard well maintained to prevent ticks from living near your home. 

  • keep the grass mowed
  • remove leaf litter, brush and weeds at the edge of the lawn and around stonewalls and woodpiles
  • discourage rodent activity by cleaning up and sealing stonewalls and small openings around the home
  • move firewood piles and bird feeders away from the house
  • keep your pets, particularly dogs, out of the woods and talk to your vet about tick repellents for your pets
  • move children's swing sets and sandboxes away from the woodland's edge and place them on a woodchip or mulch foundation
  • adopt hard landscape practices, use hard materials like stone and metals instead of soft materials like soil for planting

For further information see: https://www.hamilton.ca/public-health/health-topics/lyme-disease-ticks.