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Tick season is upon us in Manitoba. Here’s what you should know

They’re distinct in appearance: a rusty-brown colour with black on its midsection, and black legs which give it its name.

As temperatures are heating up and Manitobans are more active outside, so are blacklegged ticks.

Local entomologist Taz Stuart is warning residents as Lyme disease is becoming more common across southern Manitoba, those spending time outdoors need to be vigilant.

“You need to be doing that tick check,” he told 680 CJOB.

Blacklegged ticks can be as small as a poppyseed in their early stages, which can be hard to spot with an untrained eye, Stuart said.

They can also be found in urban settings like a backyard, not just wooded areas or long grass, the entomologist added.

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Data from Statistics Canada shows Winnipeg is an identified area where people are most at risk of getting Lyme disease. In 2018 the province had 28 confirmed cases of Lyme disease, according to provincial data.

Tick talk: What to know about the pests

To prevent bloodsucking bites Stuart recommends, in addition to steering clear of grassy paths, applying tick repellent and doing regular tick checks, to sport the “geek look.”

“Wear the light-coloured clothing. … Wear your socks on the outside of your pants,” he said.

Regular checks of the hairline, armpits, legs and shoulders should also be done to monitor for ticks.

If there’s been a suspected bite from a tick carrying Lyme disease, it can be prevented if antibiotics are given within 72 hours.

Manitoba Health recommends anyone with a bite visit a health care provider if it came from a reliably identified blacklegged tick, if the tick was attached for 36 hours or more, if the tick was engorged, or if the bite occurred in southern Manitoba or an area identified as being high risk for contracting Lyme disease.

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The province runs an online tick-checking program through Manitoba Health in which a photo of a suspected blacklegged tick can be submitted and assessed by experts.

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