Tick season has arrived in the Thompson-Okanagan

Tick season has arrived

Madison Reeve

Tick season is here, and although Lyme disease isn't the dominant tick-borne illness across the Okanagan, it is becoming more prevalent.

Janet Sperling, president of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, says it's important to check yourself and your animals for ticks after an excursion outside.

"We know that there are lots of diseases in ticks. We know that Lyme disease in the ticks isn't as bad as it is in Nova Scotia, but the most important thing when you are in B.C. in the spring is to recognize that you very well might be bitten by a tick."

Sperling says people should specifically watch for smaller ticks.

"I'm not quite so panicked when I see the big wood tick, but if you see the Ixodes tick, which is a little bit smaller, then I would be very worried."

"I would expect the larger wood tick to be very common, and I would expect everyone in the Okanagan to run into at least one or two, but make sure that you take that tick off quickly enough, and you have probably eliminated your problems right there," Sperling said.

If you have been bitten by a tick and suspect you could have Lyme disease, it's important to seek medical help right away. Lyme disease often goes undiagnosed for months or even years.

"Some people get a rash and you are lucky if you get a rash, but some people don't even pay attention because the rash doesn't necessarily itch, it doesn't do anything. You see this red expanding rash... if you see that immediately go to the doctor."

"As things go on, you might get arthritis, so maybe the Lyme disease ends up in your joints. Sometimes it affects your heart, and then you can have heart problems, and sometimes it goes to your head, and that's when you can start getting neurological problems," Sperling added.

For more information on Lyme disease, click here.

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