As the weather warms, reports of ticks in Golden and the surrounding area have been surfacing on social media, warning of potential bites.
Ticks are arachnids that feed on animal blood in order to grow and reproduce and can be carriers of Lyme Disease. Although the bites are sometimes painful and slow healing, there is little danger of disease as long as they are removed promptly, according to information on the Government of B.C.’s website.
The BC CDC evaluates the northern Columbia Valley and Golden’s risk of Lyme Disease to be low, in a map available on the government’s website that was created in 2013.
B.C. is not considered a high infestation area, unlike the east coast of North American that is seeing increasingly concerning numbers of ticks.
There are more than 20 species of ticks in British Columbia, but only three species normally bite humans. The main species of ticks that bite humans in B.C. are the Rocky Mountain Wood Tick and the Western Black-legged Tick, the latter of which is known to carry the micro-organism responsible for Lyme disease.
Ticks can be difficult to remove, with the BC CDC recommending using tweezers with a slow and gentle pull, without twisting. This ensures that the tick is removed with the mouth parts still attached. The wound should then be cleaned and treated with antiseptic.
More information on tick removal can be found on the BC CDC website.
Ticks can also attach to family pets, so after a long walk, it’s important to check your furry companions for ticks as well.
Wearing high boots or pants tucked into socks while outside in tick areas, as well as long sleeved shirts and insect repellents can help prevent tick bites.
If possible, avoid game trails or old roads overgrown or closely lined with vegetation. Tick levels may be high in areas frequented by animals.
Between five and 10 people per year come into the Emergency Department at the Golden and District Hospital with either a tick attached and needing removal or one that they’ve removed and are worried about, according to Interior Health.
These ticks can be sent for testing to see if they are the type of tick that carries Lyme disease (deer tick or black-legged tick) and if it is, they can test the tick for Lyme disease. However, most of the ticks in our region are Rocky Mountain Wood ticks and don’t carry Lyme disease, said the health authority.