Department of Health: Dealing with ticks

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It’s Important for You and Your Family to Be Tick Free!

The weather is getting warmer and that brings more residents outside. It’s important for you and your family to be tick free!

Ticks can spread disease, but not all ticks carry Lyme disease, and not all bites will make you sick. It’s important to learn how to prevent a bite, how to remove a tick, and what to do if you think you could have a tick-borne disease. Lyme disease is the most common disease spread by ticks in New York and Allegany County, but there are other serious diseases spread by ticks (Anaplasmosis, Erhlichiosis, Babesiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever)

Deer ticks live in shady, moist areas at ground level. They cling to tall grass, brush and shrubs, usually no more than 18-24 inches off the ground. They also live in lawns and gardens, especially at the edges of woods. If you garden, hike, camp, hunt, work or otherwise spend time in the outdoors, it is important to protect yourself!

Here are some tips:

  • Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily.
  • Wear enclosed shoes, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tuck pant legs into socks and boots and shirt into pants.
  • Check clothes and any exposed skin frequently for ticks while outdoors and immediately when you come indoors
  • Consider using insect repellent. If you use insect repellents, follow label directions and apply repellent carefully.
  • Stay on cleared, well-traveled trails, walk in the center of trails, and avoid dense woods and bushy areas
  • Avoid sitting directly on the ground, falling trees, tree trunks, or on stone walls. (Bring a lawn/camping chair).
  • Keep long hair tied back, especially when gardening.
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after going indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that may be on you.
  • Do a final, full-body tick check at the end of the day (also check children and pets), and remove ticks promptly.
  • Removing a tick as soon as you find it will reduce the likelihood of contracting any disease that a tick may be carrying. Typically, deer ticks must feed for at least 24-36 hours in order to transmit Lyme disease. This is why it is so important to do your tick checks.
  • If a tick has bitten you, it is always a good idea to let your healthcare provider know. If you develop a rash or flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately.

For more information about ticks, tick-borne illnesses, and how to properly remove a tick, go to the New York State Department of Health website at: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/lyme/

The Allegany County Department of Health no longer collects or submits ticks for testing; however, if a resident is interested in this service, here are some resources:

Ticks & Lyme Disease-A Guide for Preventing Lyme Disease: https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2813/

May offer tick testing with submission: https://nyticks.org/tick-submission

An app download which can help with identification of a tick: http://allegany.cce.cornell.edu/natural-resources-environment/invasive-species/invasive- insects/tick-talk

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