WATCH: Hundreds of ticks swarm hikers on Canadian trail
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Friday, May 19, 2017, 7:53 PM - Tick season is here and in some parts of the country the tiny arachnids are showing up in droves.
Karis Penner of St-Pierre-Jolys, Man., was rudely interrupted by the blood-suckers while hiking along the Mantario Trail with her husband and two friends last weekend. The group stopped every 10 to 15 minutes for a drink of water or a snack and during every break, they would find about 20 ticks, according to CBC.
In total, Penner estimates the group encountered about 400 ticks during their hike, the news agency reports.
"The ones that were actually stuck to our skin was way less just because we were checking so much, but off our clothing -- I mean, easily 400 off our clothing," she told CBC.
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The Mantario Trail in southeastern Manitoba is located within Whiteshell Provincial Park. It's bordered by Ontario and runs 63 kilometres long.
The ticks buried themselves inside pant legs, down under shirt collars and behind ears, according to Penner.
While everyone in the group received bites from the ticks, Penner said she wasn't too concerned about Lyme Disease as they checked each other frequently to ensure ticks were not latching on for too long, CBC reports.
The experienced hiker told CBC that she has never seen ticks this bad in all of her backcountry trips.
"We were just overwhelmed. We were taking them off as much as we could," she told the news agency. "After we washed in the evening and put clean clothes on, still they were on us."
"Even now, I still touch my hair. I feel a little crawly thing on my skin -- I'm still checking today. You still think they're on you."
According to Manitoba Health, 62 cases of Lyme Disease were reported in 2016. Of those cases, 22 were confirmed.
"In Manitoba, there are several species of ticks but only one species, Ixodes scapularis, is responsible for spreading tick-borne diseases to humans," the Manitoba Health website reads. "This tick is more commonly known as the deer tick or the blacklegged tick. Other tick species, such as the more common wood tick, are not effective vectors of disease causing agents in Manitoba."
Other than Lyme Disease, other tick-borne diseases found in Manitoba include Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis.
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It can take three days to one month for symptoms of Lyme Disease to occur. It can be successfully treated with antibiotics.
- The disease is a serious illness and symptoms can include fatigue, fever, headaches and skin rash.
- Due to the minuscule size, bites are mainly painless and can go unnoticed until symptoms set in.
- Tick bites often resemble a 'bull's eye'; a red bite mark surrounded by rings of red, swollen skin.
- If left untreated, Lyme disease symptoms could progress to cardiac symptoms such as heart palpitations, arthritic symptoms, extreme fatigue, general weakness and central and peripheral nervous system disorders.
- Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts.
- Pull socks over pant legs when walking through tall grass.
- Use insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin.
- Wear light colours so ticks are easily visible.
- Conduct "full body" tick check daily on yourself, your children and pets.
Spot a tick?
- Remove tick immediately using fine-tipped tweezers, or tick twisters for pets.
- Do not squeeze the body as this can accidentally let Lyme disease bacteria into the body.
- Do not put anything on the tick or try to burn it as this may also lead to the tick releasing bacteria into the bite area.
- Clean the bit area with soap and water.