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In 2015, the province saw a rise in Lyme disease, with 254 reported cases. Since 2001, the numbers have been mounting steadily as awareness of the disease has increased.
When it comes to avoiding and treating the disease, experts say prevention is key. Some tips:
• Prune trees and mow lawns to let in sunlight – ticks prefer the dark and the damp
• Wear light coloured clothing with a tight weave so that any ticks are easily visible
• Take the path most travelled and opt for paved or cleared routes
• Tuck your pants into your socks, your shirt into your pants, and wear closed toe shoes
• Shower within two hours of being outdoors to dislodge any ticks
If you do find a tick, stay calm – it takes 24 hours for a tick to pass on Lyme disease to a human or an animal. Start by using tweezers to gently pull the tick straight out, without jerking, twisting or squeezing. Follow up by washing the area and disinfecting with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Mark the date and contact a health care provider if you develop flu like symptoms or a rash.
Want more information? The Nova Scotia Communicable Disease Prevention and Control website has plenty of resources and a helpful brochure.