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Ticks & Lyme Disease | Learn How To Protect Yourself

Mosquitoes aren’t the only bugs that can ruin your summer. Watch out for the blacklegged tick, also called the deer tick. This tick is the only one in Québec that can spread Lyme disease and other illnesses. Lyme disease can cause serious problems if not treated early. Read on to learn some tick facts and keep your family safe this summer.

Where ticks are found

Ticks like to hang out in tall grass, bushes, and wooded areas. They have been in the Outaouais region for a number of years and are especially common in the Pontiac, Collines-de-l’Outaouais, and Gatineau sectors. While it’s possible to catch Lyme disease anywhere in the region, these areas have a higher risk. The blacklegged tick is active from spring until fall, so be extra careful during these months.

 What Does a Tick Look Like?

Ticks are very small and their bites are usually painless. Generally, people are infected through the bite of immature ticks called nymphs that are about the size of a poppy seed (1.15 mm). Adult ticks, about the size of a sesame seed (3 mm), can also transmit diseases. Feel your skin for bumps and look for tiny black dots.

Image of tick

Tick Safety Precautions

The best way to protect yourself against Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases is to prevent tick bites. Follow these steps to stay safe:

Before Going Outdoors:

  • Wear light-colored clothes: This makes it easier to spot ticks.
  • Dress properly: Tuck your long-sleeved shirt into your pants, and tuck your pants into your socks. Wear closed-toe shoes.
  • Use insect repellent: Apply repellent containing DEET or Icaridin to your clothing and exposed skin. Always follow label directions and ensure the product is authorized by Health Canada by checking for a Pest Control Products (PCP) number.

After Returning Indoors:

  • Check for ticks: Before going inside, inspect yourself, your children, pets, clothing, and outdoor gear for ticks.
  • Shower or bathe: Do this as soon as possible to find and wash off unattached ticks. If you don’t shower or bathe, do a full-body tick check.
  • Remove ticks promptly: If you find an attached tick, remove it as soon as possible using fine-tipped tweezers. 

How to Remove a Tick

If you find a tick on your body, don’t panic. Follow these steps to remove it safely:

    1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grab the tick as close to your skin as possible.

    2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick.

    3. After removing the tick, clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

What to Do If Bitten

  • Save the tick: Put the tick in a sealed bag or container. This can help if you need to identify it later.
  • Watch for symptoms: Look for signs of Lyme disease, like a rash, fever, or aches.
  • Call 811: If you are bitten by a tick, call 811 to talk to a nurse. They can give you advice on what to do next.
  • If bitten in Pontiac, Collins-de-l’Outaouais or in the city of Gatineau: Call Info-Santé at 811 or see your pharmacist to check your eligibility for preventive treatment (post-exposure prophylaxis).
  • Find more information here


Public Health Agency of Canada | Government of Canada

Gouvernement du Québec

Parks Canada | Government of Canada

CISSS de l’Outaouais 




Tune in with Matilda, a University of Ottawa medical student and Connexions volunteer to learn more about Lyme disease and its symptoms, treatment and how to prevent it!

To learn even more, check out these great resources: 

-> Curious minds of all ages can dive into the world of ticks by games, videos and knowledge tests on the page Ticks – Little bugs, big problems!

-> Listen to the Healthy Canadians podcast episode on Climate change bites: Infectious diseases, ticks and a warming world.

-> Consult ca/LymeDisease