Lyme Disease Prevention for Nova Scotians

Information, References, Resources and links to other sites

By Rob Murray

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ​ Hike Nova Scotia.

Prevention is essential and an understanding of the biology of blacklegged Ixodes ticks will help. Ticks can be infectious at any stage but they are more likely to be encountered in the damp cool weather of very early spring or late fall. They can be active down to 4°C. Ticks do not like to be dried out and are unlikely to be found in the center of paths and trails. Birds can also disperse ticks so Canadians can be at increased risk in new areas where they have not been commonly found in the past. There are many pro-active steps that can be taken at the local level by individuals and municipalities.

No ticks are good ticks. Approximately 20% of the blacklegged ticks are vectors for serious diseases like Lyme, Bartonella, Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis while only 1% to 4% of the larger dog ticks carry the Powassan virus.  There is no known treatment for this virus and it can render the patient unconscious in as little as 15 minutes. Dressing appropriately with light coloured clothing with long sleeves and pants tucked into socks is key. Even rubber boots can help. Several people have picked up ticks while riding on sit-on mowers.

Tick warnings and trail signage are municipal responsibilities. Dog owners generally know where the hot spots are located.

Repellents:

Most things that people suggest as repellents don’t work on ticks. The best seems to be Natrapel lemon-eucalyptus available from MEC.ca and a few pharmacies. Products containing 30% Deet don’t seem to work as well or last as long. https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5038-081/Insect-Repellent—74ml-Pump?org_text=Natrapel  A student at the Mount Allison Tick Lab https://www.lloydticklab.ca has been testing repellents and this recommendation comes from unpublished results.

Permethrin:

Permethrin is an insecticide available worldwide for protection against tick bites except in Canada. The commercial product is sold at a 0.5% strength and lasts for up to 6 weeks or 6 washes on clothing and footwear. I have found 0.25% permethrin sprays available from all garden centres, Canadian Tire, Home Hardware and the Home Depot and it should do the same thing. https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.709-ml-home-defense max.1000464192.html A light spray on the clothing and footwear is allowed to dry and should do the trick. It doesn’t work on our skin, as skin oils will neutralize it within 20 minutes. The wet spray can injure cats and it should not be used near fish or pollinators like bees.

Information on the efficacy of permethrin and prevention of Lyme in Nova Scotia: http://versicolor.ca/noticks/

Tick Tubes:

Tick tubes are another use for the permethrin spray. Dryer lint or cotton wool can be sprayed with the permethrin and packed into toilet paper tubes. These are placed around the property, under the building, in woodpiles etc. where the rodents will collect the treated lint for their nests and this will kill the ticks at their source. http://www.practicalprimitive.com/skillofthemonth/ticktubes

Dogs:  Dogs can get Lyme disease, but with treatment shake it off and build up resistance over time.  People don’t build up resistance and can be re-infected. Veterinarians should be consulted as vaccines and medicines are available.  Dogs should be on a leash and kept on the paths or trails in tick season.

Cats:  Outdoor cats should wear a collar. Check with your vet because now other medications are available. Cats are resistant to tick borne infections, feed on rodents and can deliver ticks to the owner and homes.  The collar recommended by many veterinarians is: http://www.seresto.com/en/seresto-for-cats/ by Bayer.

Other Measures:

Prompt, complete removal of ticks (if bitten) is very important. https://canlyme.com/lyme-prevention/tick-removal/ Not all ticks are infectious and generally it takes ticks time to attach and feed before they can infect a person. Tick checks and showering can help reduce the chance of infection.

Avoiding tall wet grass and undergrowth is a good idea. Cutting back the brush along pathways is a good measure to take as shrubs, shade and tall grass encourage ticks. Removing animal attractants like bird feeders will help.

To kill ticks drop them in alcohol.  If ticks are on clothing place the clothing in a dryer for 20-30 minutes before washing. –see instructions ‘CanLyme Prevention’.

References and Links to Articles on Prevention:

Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation: https://canlyme.com/lyme-prevention/

NS Lyme disease Prevention and Control: http://novascotia.ca/dhw/CDPC/lyme.asp  The Lyme risk map can be printed as a poster. In addition there are links to print pamphlets and an additional poster on the column to the right.

Protection against Lyme disease in Nova Scotia:
http://versicolor.ca/noticks/

Protecting outdoor workers from tick bites and Lyme disease:
http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/factsheets/landscapetips.pdf

Landscape Tricks to Reduce Ticks:
http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/factsheets/landscapetips.pdf

Government of Canada:
http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/diseases-conditions-maladies-affections/disease-maladie/lyme/index-eng.php

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (CCOHS): http://www.ccohs-.ca/oshanswers/diseases/lyme.html

Tick Management Handbook, Connecticut, pdf. http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/publications/bulletins/b1010.pdf

Tick Encounter Resource Center, University of Rhode Island/ prevention http://www.tickencounter.org/prevention
and eliminate tick habitat: http://www.tickencounter.org/prevention/identify_and_eliminate_tick_habitat

Signs: Tick Habitat Warning Signs: Amazon.ca AND https://www.campgroundsigns.com/tick-warning-signs

You Tube Videos

CanLyme videos: https://canlyme.com/lyme-videos/

Tick Talk; children’s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVQAxUclqgU

How to contact the author:

Rob Murray (DDS ret’d)
Lunenburg, NS
Tel.:  902-634-8542
Email:  murrayrgm01@gmail.com

Board member Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation (www.CanLyme.com)

 

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Fall Hikes, Events & Courses

Fall is a busy time and this season Hike NS has over 60 hikes, events and courses available. Check them out!

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Hike NS Fall Guided Hike Series 2017

Hike Nova Scotia and 28 host organizations across the province have partnered up to offer the 2017 Fall Guided Hike Series from September to November. There are 50 hikes led by local folks and participants qualify to win “trail prizes.” Hikes are free and Continue reading “Fall Hikes, Events & Courses”

Field Leader – Hiking & Paddling Course Aug. 28-30, Shelburne

RIMG1150-smallerA Field Leader – Hiking & Paddling Course will be offered in Shelburne on August 28, 29 and 30 at The Islands Provincial Park. It will provide participants with Outdoor Council of Canada (OCC) national certification in Field Leader – Hiking & Paddling. This includes skills to organize and lead others in a one day, educational or activity based experience in a natural environment. The course is two and a half days in length and will provide successful candidates with the necessary skills to be a confident hiking and paddling leader Continue reading “Field Leader – Hiking & Paddling Course Aug. 28-30, Shelburne”

Leave No Trace Summer Workshops

LNTWorkshops-2015-graphicLeave No Trace Canada has partnered with Hike Nova Scotia to promote Leave No Trace Principles and host a Summer Educator, who will help raise awareness about Leave No Trace Principles through delivering workshops to groups in Halifax and beyond. Workshops will be offered from mid-July to mid-August, 2015. Tailored for groups of various ages and interests, workshops will cover the seven Leave No Trace Principles that encourage low-impact use of our natural environment. A small fee or honourarium may be required depending upon workshop location and number of participants.
To learn more and book your workshop, please visit: www.hikenovascotia.ca/projects/leave-no-trace.

Leadership Level 1 – Hiking Course Nov. 29-30, Halifax

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA Leadership Level 1 – Hiking Course will be offered in Halifax on November 29-30, 2014. It will provide participants with Outdoor Council of Canada (OCC) national certification in Leadership Level 1 – Hiking. This includes skills to organize and lead others in a one day, educational or activity based experience in a natural environment. The program is suitable for hiking club leaders, trail groups, recreation department staff, teachers, 4H leaders, Scout leaders, Girl Guide leaders, parents or individuals interested in leading hikes. Courses are taught by OCC certified instructors. The course is two full days in length and will provide successful candidates with the necessary skills to be a confident hiking leader. The cost is $90 ($80 for current Hike NS members). The course is offered through the Nova Scotia Chapter of the OCC in partnership with Hike Nova Scotia and supported by the Province of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Outdoor Leadership Development Program. Click here for more information.

Featured Trail: Blue Rocks – Stonehurst Walk

Trail Name: Blue Rocks – Stonehurst Walk

Location: Lunenburg County

Description: The tiny community of Blue Rocks, and its neighbour Stonehurst, are two of the most picturesque areas on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. The area is greatly favoured by artists and photographers. But, it doesn’t get to see the influx of tourists like the famous Peggy’s Cove, despite being every bit as beautiful, and maybe more so. It’s more of a walk than a hike, but it is an ideal route to take in the winter since it’s mostly on pavement. It’s also kept clear of snow (although there is usually very little snow out on that peninsular) and there is almost no traffic.

Map: Find a map and directions here.

Submitted by: John Hutton

Winners of NS Backroad Mapbook Contest

Last month, Hike NS had a contest to give away two copies of the 2012 edition of the the Nova Scotia Backroad Mapbook. Folks were asked to send in the name of their favourite Nova Scotia hiking trail. The winners are Diane Huskins from Caledonia and Cheryl Campbell from Stillwater Lake.  

Here are some of the favourite trails mentioned:

  • Prospect Point Hike
  • Meat Cove Mountain (Cape Breton)
  • Skyline Trail (Cape Breton Highlands National Park)
  • Gull Cove (Cape Breton)
  • Keji Seaside Hiking Trail
  • Clam Harbour Beach
  • Gaff Point (Lunenburg County)
  • Crystal Crescent Trail (Pennant Point)
  • The Bluff Trail
  • Polletts Cove
  • Cape Chignecto
  • Uisage Ban falls (Victoria County)
  • Taylor Head Provincial Park
  • Keji Seaside Adjunct
  • Storey’s Head (East Chezzetcook)
  • Coastal Trail (Cape Breton Highlands National Park)
  • Blue Mountain Trail (Hammonds Plains)
  • Miners Marsh Nature Trail (Kentville)
  • Blomidon Provincial Park
  • Musquodoboit Trailway
  • High Head Trail (Wentworth)
  • Cape Split
  • Prospect Point Hike
  • Burntcoat
  • Woodville Hiking Trails
  • Otter Marsh Cliff Hike

Safe Hiker: An Introduction to Hiking Workshop

Hike NS envisions more Nova Scotians and visitors enjoying a broad network of places for hiking, walking and snowshoeing and doing so in a responsible manner. To realize this, we need to give hikers the skills and knowledge to do it safely, with minimal impact and with confidence. Hike Nova Scotia’s Safe Hiker Workshop aims to teach new and inexperienced hikers how to have safe, low-impact and enjoyable hiking experiences. It is supported by Mountain Equipment Co-op. Learn how your organization can host a Safe Hiker one-day workshop.

Featured Trail: Crowbar Lake Hiking Trail

Trail Name: Crowbar Lake Hiking Trail

Location: Porters Lake, Halifax Regional Municipality   

Description: “This 18 kilometre hiking trail system offers a variety of scenic trail loops in a rugged, forested wilderness landscape of exposed, high ridges; and beautiful lakes and waterways. The trails are footpaths, suitable for single-file hiking. Most of this trail system is within Waverley-Salmon River Long Lake Wilderness Area.” There are four main trails, offering a variety of hiking lengths and challenges ranging from 1.5 kilometre to 18 kilometre.

Map: Find a map and directions here

Leave No Trace Tips: Be Considerate of Others

As part of our regular feature on the seven Leave No Trace Principles, we’re featuring Principle #7: Be Considerate of Others.

One of the most important components of outdoor ethics is to maintain courtesy toward other visitors. It helps everyone enjoy their outdoor experience. Many people come to the outdoors to listen to nature. Excessive noise, unleashed pets and damaged surroundings take away from everyone’s experience. So, keep the noise level down while traveling and if you bring a radio or music, use headphones so you will not disturb others. Also keep in mind that the feeling of solitude, especially in open areas, is enhanced when group size is small, contacts are infrequent and behavior is unobtrusive. To maximize your feeling of privacy, avoid trips on holidays and busy weekends or take a trip during the off season.

Groups leading or riding livestock have the right-of-way on trails. Hikers and bicyclists should move off the trail to the downhill side. Talk quietly to the riders as they pass, since horses are spooked easily.

Take rest breaks on durable surfaces well off the designated trail. Keep in mind that visitors to seldom used places require an extra commitment to travel quietly and lightly on the land. Click here for more details on being considerate of others, including campsite etiquette, how to lessen visual impacts, dog-owner etiquette and respecting the land.

Learn more about Leave No Trace Canada.