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Spring. The season of birdsong, tulips...and tick prevention!

Various ticks shown on human finger, attached to dog and in nature.

The warmth of spring is on the way.

There's more birdsong in the air. The tulips and crocuses will soon be poking up. 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. In order to continue enjoying Nature, tick bite prevention has become an important topic for families to explore. 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.

When + where is tick prevention important?

A path through the forest

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?

Tick Bite Prevention + Fun Outdoors

What You'll Need:

Light coloured, long pants for everyone in the family. Tuck the pants into your socks when hiking or exploring the woods or fields with long grass.

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. For older children and adults, AtlanTick (a Nova Scotian company) has great options. Adhesive lint roller. Keep it near the most common entry point into your home. Use it over everyone's clothing, each time you come in from the outdoors. 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 the glove box of your family vehicle. 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!

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