Ticks are crawling into the minds of residents as the weather gets warmer. Dr. David Torr with the Saskatchewan Health Authority took some time to sit down with WestCentralOnline to discuss the facts and precautions we should all take to keep ourselves and our families safe this spring and summer. 

“Some of these ticks, especially what is called the black legged tick can carry Lyme disease. Now for the most part, Saskatchewan has been at low risk for the ticks that carry Lyme Disease,  

but two things to keep in mind is that of course, folks travel a lot, so they may go down to the states or to Alberta or Ontario where there is more of the Lyme disease and get exposed from there.  

And we've had quite a number of folks over the years who come in, get ill and you know, they think, oh, did I get the exposure in Saskatchewan.” 

But there is still a chance to contract Lyme within Saskatchewan from ticks found here, 

" ... There's been a surveillance program going on for quite a number of years now within the province to monitor these ticks because with global warming and ... changes in climate, we we've seen ticks moving into Saskatchewan and some of the black legged ticks have been identified in Saskatchewan even though in low numbers.  

So we always say the risk may be low but it's not zero and so the precautions are really important and what folks really need to look out for is sometimes you may not even actually know that you had a tick bite, right?  

But if you're feeling unwell and you know it's the season, make sure you tell the physician I was out walking or whatever in the last few weeks. 

Could that be something that I got exposed to? ...” 

The biggest tactic to protect against it is action rather than reaction though, 

"Prevention. That's our biggest thing. Prevention is wearing the right kind of clothing. 

 Light colored clothing, so you can see if any ticks are on you. Pants go into the socks, so that you don't have them crawling into your pants and boots ... And of course, the insect repellents, very important as well and that's going to come up even for the mosquitoes as time goes on, right? 

But all these precautionary things are very important, 

and then straight after your walk, of course, check thoroughly for any ticks.  

Check your clothing for ticks, check your body for ticks. All these are really important in preventing,  

rather than just taking it easy and then you feel sick, and you don't know what's going on.” 

Visit the SHA webpage for more information as well as programs and services related to tick prevention and identification.