To the Editor;

School has been back for a while and fall activities outdoors are in full swing again. Children/youth are out in the school yards, on the sport fields and enjoying nature. The ticks are out there too and will be looking for their next blood meal.

Over the fall and winter months the adult ticks that have a high chance of carrying infection are actively seeking a host. It has been said that in highly endemic areas about 40 to 60 per cent of the blacklegged ticks harbour the bacteria that causes Lyme disease and who knows what other co-infections they may be carrying.

Parents need to be aware of the possibility your child will come home with an attached tick. Body inspection from head to toe is essential if you are to find this unwanted guest. Bath/shower time is ideal to be carefully checking and if a tick is found be sure to save it. The tick can be sent for testing at your own expense to Geneticks. There are charts available to help ID ticks or the tick identification can be done through eTick.

Deer rifle hunting season will soon begin the last Friday in October and lasts until the first Saturday in December. Hunters are at risk and need to be aware and take precautions. I have known of hunters who have acquired Lyme disease while out enjoying their sport.

Please increase your awareness and do all that you can to avoid being the next host for these parasitic predators.

Remember that ticks are a year-round problem and can be active anytime the temperature is above 4 C. It was once believed that Lyme disease is hard to catch but easy to treat when the opposite is what is actually true.

There is need for more research as well as education for health-care providers when it comes to vector transmitted infections. If a person presents with various symptoms and the reason for their health concern is unknown, it is time Lyme was on the radar.

Be aware that the risk can be anywhere and everywhere, being bitten in one’s own backyard is now a real possibility. Share information to help keep your family and friends safe.

Remember it is important to get outside for our physical and mental wellbeing—but safely. Just like it is important to be social during COVID—but safely.

Education is key.

Brenda Sterling-Goodwin

New Glasgow