It’s Spring. A season of birdsong, tulips…and ticks!

The warmth of spring is on the way.

There’s more birdsong in the air.

The tulips and crocuses will soon be poking through the earth.

And the bugs are on their way!

Historically, we thought of these little critters mostly as pests. Mosquitoes and black flies leave behind their itchy, swollen bites. Fruit flies raid the compost bucket. In recent years, ticks have come further into our awareness, as their populations moved into various regions in Canada, bringing with them much higher risks of infection with the variety of diseases that they carry.

When we hear about ticks, we hear mostly about the black legged-tick and lyme disease – a potentially chronic, life altering disease that can affect a variety of body systems.

Ticks hang out in forests, wooded areas, shrubs, tall grass and leaf piles and are active when the temperature is above freezing. Outdoor activities in these areas from early spring to late fall increase our risk of exposure to these critters.

So, how do we maintain our connection with Nature and experience the many benefits of activities outdoors, while lowering risk of tick bites and lyme disease?

This info graphic I created for the clinic last year, summarizes the most common recommendations.

What you’ll need:

Light coloured, long pants for everyone in the family.

Insect repellent. Remember, essential oil based repellents need to be applied regularly. And, not all essential oils are safe for pets and infants. Check with your veterinarian and a trusted health care provider for specific recommendations for your family.

Adhesive lint roller. Keep it near the most common entry point into your home.

Tick removal kits are available for purchase through the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation and AtlanTick contain tick identification cards, tick removers, magnifying glass, container to put tick into, instructions for proper tick removal, identification, container to save tick in. I recommend having a kit in your first aid kit and your glove box.

Contact information for your nearest tick testing site. Here in southeastern New Brunswick, there’s a research team at Mount Allison University studying ticks and lyme disease. They accept ticks for testing – details can be found here.

Daily tick checks become part of our bedtime routine at the end of each day, from spring until late fall. The transition from day clothes to pajamas is a perfect time to check our kids and to teach them how to check their own bodies and how we can help each other check hard to see areas – in and behind ears, on the scalp and on the backs of our bodies.

If you have concerns about your or your child’s immune health, now is a great time to book an appointment to chat about  natural ways to enhance this natural defense system against infection. We often think of this system during cold and flu season, but optimal immunity is important year round!

xo Dr. Sarah