Lyme disease prevention gets easier

by Steve Galea | May 15, 2023

Pharmacists can now prescribe post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Lyme disease, making it easier to get immediate treatment for black-legged tick bites.

A provincial amendment that authorizes pharmacists, students, and interns in Ontario to prescribe medications for 13 minor ailments came into effect Jan. 1.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control, “In areas that are highly endemic for Lyme disease, a single prophylactic dose of doxycycline may be used to reduce the risk of acquiring Lyme disease after a high-risk tick bite.”

Public Health Ontario says most symptoms of the disease in humans usually appear between three and 30 days after a bite from an infected tick. Early symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, and an expanding red rash. The best prevention is using insect repellent, wearing proper clothing, removing ticks as soon as possible, and removing tick habitats from around the home.

In 2021, there were 1,707 known cases of Lyme disease in the province.

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