Cottage Health Risks

Risks to your health at the cottage on Bobs and Crow lakes are relatively low risk, especially when managed with a healthy dose of common sense.  Several of the most common risks plus a growing threat are discussed below.

Lyme Disease:

Lyme disease is an illness caused by bacteria spread through the bite certain types of ticks.   In Ontario, it is the black-legged tick.  

Black legged tick

These ticks are now established in the area north of the St. Lawrence River (which includes Bobs and Crow lakes) according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.  Even though an estimated one-third of ticks in the Bobs and Crow lake area are estimated to test positive for this bacteria, treat every tick bite as if it is infected.   It is important to note that during the spring and early summer months, ticks can be very small (called nymphs) and once attached will often go unnoticed.  This increases the risk of being infected.

Ticks cannot fly or jump, and prefer to live in humid, wooded areas.   You can pick up ticks while walking through areas with leaf litter or long grass.   Ticks are most likely to transmit the infection after being attached to the skin for more than 24 hours.   Consequently quick detection and removal of attached ticks is important.

Red rash near site of bite is common. Bulls-eye rash occurs in less than 20% of cases.

A circular red rash near the site of the tick bite develops in approximately 70% of confirmed cases.  The rashes are usually solid coloured, ranging from faint pink to a deep red.   Less than 20% of all rashes have the classic "bull's-eye" appearance.   

Symptoms of the disease may include fever, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain.   These may disappear within 10 days but if left untreated, Lyme Disease can progress and affect the nervous system, joints and the heart.    The typical  treatment for Lyme disease is with antibiotics over a 4-6 week period.   Early detection and treatment usually result in a full recovery.

Prevention of Tick Bites

The most recommended steps to protect yourself are:

  • Use tick repellents
  • Cover up
  • Check yourself afterwards
  • Check your pets
  • Own a tick remover

For more information on ticks and Lyme Disease, go to:

Prevention of Lyme disease: Govt of Canada

Lyme Disease: KFL&A Public Health

Wild Parsnip

Wild Parsnip has become a major health problem over the past 3 years as it causes serious rashes, burns and glisters to the skin.  

Wild Parship outbreaks have been growing in the Bobs and Crow lakes area.

The spread of wild parsnip has been prolific along roadways, fields and railway embankments leading to spraying programs in some Townships in 2017.    The spread of this invasive species has been most prominent in Eastern Ontario most recently.   The sap of the leaves may cause temporary blindness if it gets into one’s eyes.  The chemical of the sap (called furocainains) will cause severe skin inflammation within 24 hours after exposure to sunlight.  

If you think you have wild parship on your property, please call the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711.  You will be asked to send in photos for identification.   DO NOT touch, cut or collect parts of the plant for identification purposes.   For more information on wild parsnip check out:   Experts on Wild Parsnip

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy remains a frequent source of health concerns in cottage country.   

Poison ivy grows broadly around Bobs and Crow lakes.

The sap in the leaves and roots of poison ivy contains the resin urushiol. Contact with skin often leads to an allergic reaction causing intense itchiness and sometimes blisters.  The plant has a 3 pointed leaflet configuration.   When your skin comes in contact with the sap, soap and cold water is often used to minimize the reaction. Seeing your doctor if symptoms worsen is recommended.   Be careful with exposing clothing, gloves, tools and other items to the poison ivy sap. The sap can retain its harmful effect for as long as 1 year, especially under dry conditions. 

There are many other plants dangerous to human health.  Click here for more information:

Poisonous Plants in Ontario