I recently had a chance to talk to CBC News about the fact that ticks can be active anytime temperatures are over 4 Celsius which means, with our ever-changing climate, you can find a tick on you and your pets in December, January, or any time of the year. It is amazing the number of people that think of ticks as just a Spring thing. I guess that may have something to do with the fact that most of the news about ticks, and the diseases that they can carry, happen mostly in May which is generally thought of as Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

It is also amazing that many people feel that as long as they are not in the woods, they are safe (the title of this post probably doesn’t help, but I thought it was catchy). Ticks have now found their ways into local parks, school yards, and onto residential properties (even in cities). They can be deposited anywhere animals travel and birds land. Not a hiker? You can still be at risk! Although not all ticks carry disease, and there are certainly areas of a higher, and lower, concentration of ticks and a higher, and lower, percentage carrying disease, it’s time to rethink our opinion of ticks and the diseases/illnesses that they can carry.

We need to change the mindset of anyone and everyone that spends time outdoors, whether it is for sport, relaxation, work or any other reason. Ticks are here to stay and bite prevention needs to become a daily routine. If you just add a quick brush down before you go inside, toss your clothes in the dryer on high for about 20 minutes, and shower and tick check soon after being outside, that will help considerably. For those working, or spending long periods of time, in high risk areas I would strongly recommend you look into permethrin treated clothes.

Now that tick “season” and flu season can be one and the same, the prevention of bites is of utmost importance. If you don’t get a rash, which is fairly common, and just have flu-like symptoms soon after a bite, what do you think the likelihood of you, or your Doctor, thinking Lyme and tick borne diseases? If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that the likelihood is just about nil.

Although the immune system of some people can fight the bacteria/illnesses transmitted, there may be a time when your immune system is compromised and symptoms can flair. If you haven’t been doing your regular tick checks and prevention measures, it is fairly common not to know about a bite. The little buggers are so small and stealthy many bites are missed. MANY! Unfortunately, for some, this can result in a steady climb of the number of symptoms and the number of systems affected. Trying to find an answer for this steady decline in health can take weeks, months, or even years. For some people, that answer is never received.

Because we generally hear in Canada that Lyme and tick borne diseases are rare, hard to get and easy to treat, many do not take the issue as seriously as they should. This needs to change. The CDC notes early signs and symptoms and later signs and symptoms of untreated Lyme – Of course, this does not take into consideration any symptoms one may have due to co-infections (other illnesses/viruses/diseases transmitted at the same time as Lyme). The symptoms can be many and can affect any and all systems in your body. Lyme and several other tick borne illnesses can kill!

Time to take this issue seriously – all year! Protect yourself, your family and your pets!




  1. Hi Donna,

    Great to read your posts. I have just been diagnosed with Lyme disease and we think (and hope) that we got it early. I am on my 3rd week of antibiotics. I am not at home now, in Florida until mid December. I am amazed at how great the support has been from NS health and my Docs. And they tracked me down here! It was quite a shock, but as you have said, they can go undetected and as you probably know, I live in tick heaven beside Admiral’s Cove Park! I will get in touch when I get home. Sue Martin



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