Ticks & Lyme disease

Tick on flower

Ticks are common in British Columbia and can carry the bacteria causing Lyme disease, however, the rate of Lyme disease has remained low in BC compared to other parts of North America.

Avoiding tick bites and removing attached ticks early will help protect you and your pets from Lyme disease.

When working or recreating outdoors, the BC Centre for Disease Control recommends to:

  • wear light-coloured clothing, long sleeves, pants, and closed-toed shoes
  • tuck your pant legs into your socks to prevent ticks from entering
  • use insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin
  • check clothing, scalp, and hard to see areas on your body where a tick may be hiding after being outdoors
  • regularly check household pets for ticks, and keep pets on designated trails
  • walk on cleared trails, and avoid walking through dense vegetation or tall grass

To remove a tick safely, the BC Centre for Disease Control recommends to:

  • carefully grasp the tick at the head with tweezers, where the tick attaches to the skin, and pull straight up slowly. Do not squish or twist the tick
  • clean the tick bite area using soap and water, and use an antibiotic ointment
  • if possible, save the tick in a container with a tight lid. If alive, dampen a small cotton ball and put it into the container to keep it alive. Contact a physician or the BC Centre for Disease Control for testing.
  • monitor the bite area for a few days, and see a physician if swelling or ‘bull’s eye’ rash appears