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Tick off our tick-checking checklist



(Illustration: Will Maclachlan)

As the days get warmer and longer, many South Shore residents are eagerly lacing on their hiking boots or lugging their gardening equipment out of their sheds.

Unfortunately, warm weather goes hand-in-hand with the increased risk of picking up an unwanted arachnid during your time outside.

Ticks continue to be a serious issue on the South Shore. They are most active from late spring until the fall. They can survive in temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius and above. With winters getting warmer, there is no longer much of a reprieve from the anxiety of ticks. Black-legged ticks can carry Lyme disease, and reports of Lyme disease in Nova Scotia are increasing in recent years.

Lisa Learning is the founder of AtlanTick, a repellent product you can spray on your clothes and body before going outdoors.

“When I first moved here, I don’t feel like there was very much awareness [about ticks] at all,” says Learning. 

Learning’s products, which are 100% natural, are available online and in various stores across the Maritimes and Canada.

Learning has advice on how to prevent picking up a tick on your next journey outside. 

“Understanding ticks and where they live, that’s huge,” she says. She warns to avoid tall grasses and brush. Whenever possible, Learner advises to not wander off a hiking trail or path.

Janet Barlow, executive director of Hike Nova Scotia, has similar advice about staying on the beaten path. 

“You’re most likely to find ticks in areas with long grass or areas with low undergrowth or in shrubby areas,” she writes via email.

She shared the following advice for those who are venturing into nature:

1. Wear light-coloured clothing to make it easy to see if a tick is on you.
2. Wear long sleeves. Tuck your pants into your socks.
3. Wear shoes rather than sandals.
4. Use a repellent spray (such as AtlanTick).
5. Do tick checks both on the trail and when you get home.
6. If you do find a tick, remove it very carefully.

In the future, Lisa Learning of AtlanTick would like to ideally collaborate with municipalities to come up with large-scale solutions. 

Her company is currently developing a ground-spray and a ground-powder. Learning says these safe ground treatments are currently in beta-testing and will hopefully be ready for use next year.

In the meantime, we should all take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from ticks while enjoying our beautiful region.

Readers can find more information about tick removal and prevention at: www.hikenovascotia.ca


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