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Tips for Avoiding Ticks this Season

Take these precautions to avoid illnesses that come from ticks.

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Spring is officially here, and we all get to look forward to whole warm-weather season. However, ticks also come along with the warm weather. These parasites can bring with them such illnesses as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which could really put a damper on your summer vacation.

Here are a few tips from Governor Cuomo on dealing with ticks this spring and summer. Anyone in a wooded area should do the following:

  • Make sure shirts are tucked in and also tuck pants into socks to prevent ticks from accessing the skin.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts and pants, when practical.
  • Wear light colored clothing that will make it easier to spot and remove ticks.
  • Check for ticks every two to three hours while outdoors and brush off any ticks you find before they attach.
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks on your body.
  • Perform a full body check multiple times during the day and at the end of the day to ensure that no ticks are attached.

New York State averages more than 5,500 new Lyme disease cases each year. Lyme disease will spread after an infected tick is attached to a person for 36 hours or more. If a tick is found, it is critical to remove it immediately. The best way to remove a tick is by using a pair of tweezers and grasping the tick as close to its attachment to the skin as possible.

Be sure to keep an eye on the area where any tick bite occurs. If an expanding rash more than two inches apart appears or if an expanding rash more than two inches across appears, contact your health care provider immediately. Also contact your health provider if you notice flu-like symptoms over a 30-day period following a tick bite.

Ticks can also be a danger to your pets. Remember the following rules to keep your pets safe:

  • Check your pets for ticks daily, especially after they spend time outdoors.
  • If you find a tick on your dog, remove it right away.
  • Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam.
  • Talk with your veterinarian about using tick preventives on your pet.
  • Always follow label instructions when applying tick preventives to your pet.

Remember that cats are very sensitive to certain tick-preventative chemicals. It is important to consult a veterinarian before using them on cats.

For more information on ticks, see the New York State Department of Health website.

[Source: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo]