Forests and Human Health
The County Forest plays an important role in the health and well-being of the community. However, the Forest also has the potential to have a negative impact on human health with forest-related human health issues such as West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and poison ivy.
The County Forest plays an important role in the health and well-being of the community. It is a low cost outdoor venue for physical activity for those living in or visiting the region. Many people find the forest environment enjoyable simply because of its peace and tranquility compared with the rest of their daily lives. As well, trees absorb carbon dioxide and pollutants from the air and release oxygen, providing very real air quality (and consequently, health) benefits.
However, the Forest also has the potential to have a negative impact on human health with forest-related human health issues such as West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and poison ivy.
You can find both kinds of information here.
Forest Bathing is the Japanese tradition of being in the forest and absorbing the forest environment through all your senses. It can be very relaxing, reducing stress, worry, and anxiety.
Poison ivy grows commonly in many areas of the County Forest. Information about identifying poison ivy and its treatment can be found on the Health Canada website by clicking here.
Users of the Dufferin County Forest should be aware of the possibility of being bitten by mosquitoes while using the forest properties, particularly from dusk until dawn. Simple precautions such as wearing long sleeves, pants, and socks and using insect repellent will reduce the risk of being bitten and the possibility of contracting the mosquito-borne West Nile virus. For more information about West Nile virus, visit the Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health website.
While the risk of contracting Lyme disease from ticks in the Dufferin County area is relatively low, it is nevertheless advisable to use simple precautions such as wearing shirts with tight cuffs and placing pant legs inside socks when in the forest to minimize possible exposure to the ticks that may be carrying Lyme disease. You can find more information about ticks and Lyme disease on the Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health website. Lyme disease risk map for Ontario.
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