The weather is getting warmer and that means more people are spending time outside. This could increase the chances of you or your pet getting bit by a tick.
Broome County Executive Debbie Preston (R) joined members of the Broome County Legislature and Broome County Health Department to discuss the prevention of Lyme Disease this spring on Thursday.
Lyme disease can be spread by the bite of an infected deer tick. The ticks can also carry other other diseases such as babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and infections such as powassan virus.
But not all ticks are infected. To reduce your risk of Lyme disease remove the tick within the first 36 hours.
The other diseases are reduced if the tick is removed within 12 to 24 hours.
To minimize the chances of being bitten by a tick you should do the following:
– Wear light-colored clothing when you are in wooded or grassy areas. That way it’s easier to spot a tick. Also try tucking pants into socks and shirts into pants.
– Walk in the center of trails.
– When you are outside, check for ticks regularly, they could be on clothes or skin at the end of the day. If you do find one, brush it off before it attaches to the skin.
– After coming inside, do a full-body tick check. Once ticks are on the body they can attach anywhere. They often attach to hidden areas like behind the knees and ear, groin, armpits, and scalp.
– Shower within two hours or as soon as possible after being outside in wooded or grassy areas.
– Use repellents that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
To remove ticks, use fine-tipped tweezers and carefully grasp the tick close to the skin. Gently and steadily pull the tick out without twisting or squeezing.
After the tick is removed, wash the bite area and apply antiseptic.
If any ticks are found, they should be removed immediately. Use fine-tipped tweezers to carefully grasp the tick close to the skin. Gently and steadily pull the tick out without twisting or squeezing. After removing the tick, wash the bite area thoroughly, apply antiseptic.
“The Broome County Health Department has hundreds of free kits available to help you safely remove ticks from yourself and your pet,” Preston said. “We will also be working with all of our local municipalities to provide these free kits in the clerk’s offices.”