Sunday, July 24, 2011

Deer Ticks and Lyme Disease

In Newfoundland we are fortunate to be insulated from the spread of some insects commonly found on the mainland.  We don't hear much about Deer Ticks or Lyme Disease here.  There is actually a small population of Deer Ticks (aka Black-Legged Ticks) in the province.  In fact, I just read a note out of Clarenville that a dog there tested positive for Lyme Disease and Deer Ticks have been found in the area.

Though deer is the desirable host for Deer Ticks, our moose and caribou populations may offer an adequate host to enable to population to grow.  You can provide protection for your pets. A community vet will have the appropriate collars.  People do get Lyme Disease - it comes following a bite (i.e. sucking blood) by a infected tick.  Not all ticks will have been infected by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.  If you are bitten and it was by a tick - expect a rash which expands outwards over several days, aches, chills, fever and other symptoms. Have this checked out by your doctor and get treated.

If you plan to hike in summer and will be travelling through long grass or brush, wearing pants would be a preventative measure. If you think you've found a tick bring it to a local or provincial government vet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yarrow...little bouquets

It's good to be back, returning from 35 C temperatures to a more comfortable 20 C or so.  The weather here has been no-so-good for much of the summer.  However, if you like doing things outside and can appreciate breathing fresh, salty air without being overwhelmed with heat, Newfoundland is the place to be.

While on a walk today I saw so many native plants now in bloom.  One which can easily be missed is Yarrow.  It grows throughout the province and is common in drier areas.  They are usually easy to spot on roadsides. The flowers are white and if pulled from the plant in small bunches they resemble tiny bouquets of flowers. Kids are fasinated by this. The leaves are almost feathery.  

The plant has been used for varying purposes over the centuries. Thousands of years ago it was used to staunch the flow of blood from wounds. So glad we've evolved from that.  I've read that in rare cases it can cause an allergic skin reaction.

When you are out and about take notice of this common plant.