Experts warn that Quebecers who still spend their summer indulging in outdoor activities will have to be careful because the ticks that carry Lyme disease continue to spread.
“There are those who still think it is a strange disease, that we catch it in the Amazon. Carl Dubois, vice president of the Lyme Disease Association of Quebec (AMLQ), insists that ticks know no boundaries and neither do the animals that carry them.
With global warming, the “deer tick,” or “black legged tick,” the carrier of Lyme disease, is stretching further and further north, he remembers.
We are starting to see cases in Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean. Not only in Magog and in the Sherbrooke area, there are some in Montreal as well, continues Mr. Dupois. We can have it while gardening! ”
Last summer, border closures due to the pandemic sparked “historic” traffic by Quebecers in many national and regional parks, who expect a similar situation this year.
In Sépaq, it is estimated that there were approximately 590,000 additional visits to their park during the summer of 2020, for a total of about 4.8 million.
“There are a lot of people who have never visited national parks before and started to do so,” said spokesperson Simon Poivin. We repeat it every year: There are good practices that must be adopted to reduce risks [de se faire piquer par une tique]. »
For its part, Aventure écotourisme Québec notes an average increase of 13% in its regional parks, and nearly 50% in its larger parks, which usually receive more than 75,000 visitors annually.
Come on ready
“It’s huge,” says Valerie Bellanger, who is responsible for developing regional parks and special projects. This year, we will continue to tour our house and discover our lands. It is even more important to be aware. “
Long and light clothing, pantyhose and high-quality mosquito repellent: Even in a day of hiking, you need to be prepared, the organization explains. It is important to stay on the trail and check yourself from head to toe upon exit.
What to do if you are bitten by a tick
- Don’t panic: A tick bite is “not the end of the world” when it’s caught quickly, Carl Dubois recalls. Additionally, not all ticks are infected.
- Gently remove it with a pair of pliers to make sure your head is not left in the skin.
- Store it in a container in the freezer so you can test it.
The tick must remain in the body for 24 to 36 hours to transmit the bacteria, hence the importance of examining itself once it is released.
The first symptoms, which appear 3 to 30 days after stinging, are redness (sometimes in the form of a target), fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle or joint pain, and swollen glands.