The Facts

Photo Coutresy of

Photo Coutresy of

  • We do have Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever  in the province of Alberta.
  • Both of these diseases are carried by ticks
  • Ticks can be found anywhere but be very suspicious around sunny south facing slopes in the spring or where sheep or deer sleep over!
  • It will take an hour or two, once a tick is on you for it to find a nice “fold” in the skin or for it to move to the hairline where it will attempt to feed.
  • Their saliva contains an anesthetic that renders their bite “painless”
  • The tick must be in-dedded for over 24 hours to transmit any bacteria that it may be carrying.

Spot it, Find it, Remove it

If you spot them on your light coloured clothing or equipment that has been lying on the ground be sure to tell the group and others who have been in the area. Check all of your clothing and those “difficult to self visualise” areas carefully… you have 24 hours to find it… The clock is “ticking”!

Removing Ticks 

  • Use only tweezers (do not use any other method)
  • Grasp close to the skin and firmly pull straight out.
  • Inspect the bug to ensure it is intact. Consider keeping it and sending it to the Alberta Tick Program.
  • Clean the area with an antiseptic wipe and watch for signs of local infection.

Example of rash caused by a tick carrying Lyme Disease. Note that not all rashes will appear this way. Photo courtesy of


Symptoms can come on gradually or fairly rapidly. In general the appear much like symptoms of the flu; fever and chills; sore throat; headaches; congestions; fatigue. In addition:

Lyme Disease – Rash around the bite site (only happens 30% of the time) – Bulls eye rash at the bite site (only happens 9% of the time) – Joint pain

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever – Rash appears 2-5 days post bite and initially appears as small, flat pink, non-itchy spots on wrists, ankles and forearms – Red/Purple rash appears after 6 days and occurs in up to 60% of cases.

Example of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Photo courtesy of

Example of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Photo courtesy of

For further information check out Lyme Disease Association of Alberta (LDAA) and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC)

This synopsis of tick facts was compiled by the Remote Safety Specialists at Rocky Mountain Adventure Medicine. For more information call us toll free 1-888-849-0933.