How to identify and protect yourself against Lyme disease

Symptoms can last for months and even years. If not treated, it can lead to arthritis, facial paralysis and even heart disorder. (Photo: Getty)

The city of Hamilton, Ont. has been named an at-risk area for Lyme disease after six blacklegged ticks were found at Christie Lake Conservation Area last year. Lyme disease cam be transmitted to humans through bites from infected blacklegged ticks. The tick has to be attached to the human for a minimum of 24 hours.

Symptoms can start anywhere between one day to four weeks after a tick bite.  Watch out for a circular red rash that slowly expands around the bite, as well as fatigue, stiff neck, joint pain and headaches. Symptoms can remain for months and even years. If not treated, it can lead to arthritis, facial paralysis and even heart disorder.

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Protect yourself with these Lyme disease prevention tips:

  • Know where to expect ticks: Blacklegged ticks, for example, live in woodlands, tall grasses and bushes.
  • Wear proper clothing/use proper protection: Wear long pants and cover your body. Tuck your pants into your socks, and use an insect repellent containing DEET.
  • Do a tick check: After spending time outdoors in wooded areas, examine your body (and head) as well as your pets for ticks.
  • Remove ticks asap (the proper way): Remove ticks asap using tweezers: Pull the tick gently but firmly straight up so that the full head is also removed.

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