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Category Archives: Insect Repellent

As temperatures begin to finally rise across southern Ontario after several weeks of gloomy weather, many Niagara residents are eager to bring out their summer wardrobe.

However, it doesn’t take long before we quickly remember that along with the summer heat comes the return of mosquitoes, spiders, and ticks. In Ontario, most residents are well informed about the illnesses mosquitoes can spread and ways of protecting yourself. But how informed are we about ticks?

There are many different species of ticks; however, the one that is of concern is the blacklegged tick, also known as the deer tick. This sesame seed sized tick can be the host to the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease, which, if untreated, can result in arthritis, heart problems, and various nervous system problems. The American brown dog tick is approximately half a centimeter and has not been shown to carry Lyme disease.

The Niagara region has a high concentration of ticks, especially in the areas surrounding Lake Erie. The Niagara Health Department recommends wearing pants and long sleeved shirts when walking in wooded areas to minimize the chances of a tick bite.

If you notice a tick has attached to your skin, it should be removed immediately by grabbing the head with a pair of tweezers and pulling straight up. Do not try to burn the tick off of the skin using a match or lighter. The area should be then be washed with soap and water. If you are unable to remove the entire tick, you should give your doctor a call and they can remove it for you.  The tick can be brought to the health department for analysis to see if it was infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

Ticks often pick up the bacteria that cause Lyme disease while feeding on infected rodents. However, it should be noted that most ticks are not carriers.

The majority of people who are bitten by ticks do not develop Lyme disease, however if you notice a red bullseye rash on the skin, develop a fever, headache or muscle and joint pains, you should seek medical attention. The symptoms typically develop within 1 to 2 weeks of a bite. Lyme disease can often be cured with antibiotics if treatment is started early.

For more information about Lyme disease or information about ticks and where to drop them off, you can call 1-888-505-6074.

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Chances are you’ve already experienced one or two mosquito bites this year.  The following are a few tips on how to avoid getting any more.

The most effective bug repellents are the ones that contain DEET.  The concentration can vary from 5% to 100%.  For most people 10% to 30% provides enough protection.    The concentration refers to how long a product will last.  So a 30% product will be effective longer than a 10% product.  It is generally recommended you use 10% or less on kids. You should not use repellent on babies.  They should be protected with clothing and a bug net over their carriers.

DEET can reduce the effectiveness of your sunscreen but we don’t recommend using a combo product.  Sunscreen should be reapplied throughout the day whereas you want to apply bug spray only once or twice in a day.  Put your sunscreen on first and then the bug spray.

Apply products containing DEET carefully.  Use just enough to lightly cover the skin.  Apply only to exposed skin, not under clothing.  Avoid contact with eyes and mouth.  Don’t apply to children’s hands, and be sure to wipe your hands after application.  Apply to your outer clothing and protect your skin with clothing as much as possible.  Especially cover feet with socks and shoes

There are some natural products you can try.  Soybean oil repels mosquitoes for three to four hours.  Citronella oil may work for an hour or two.  Some people think Thiamin and other B vitamins are bug repellents, but there is no real evidence that they work

If you do experience some mosquito bites apply some over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.  If you put it in the fridge before hand it will have a nice cooling effect.   You can also take Benadryl.  This helps with the itch but it makes some people drowsy.

Mosquitoes are more prevalent between dusk and dawn so you may want to avoid being outside at those times.  Also, remove standing water where mosquitoes like to breed.

If you follow the above tips you should be able to avoid the mosquitoes and have a safe and happy summer.