MAYVILLE – The Western New York Public Health Alliance (WNYPHA) is urging residents and visitors to take precautions to avoid tick-borne illnesses.
In a media release sent out on Thursday, the alliance said that mot all ticks can cause disease and not all bites will make you sick, but as these diseases become more common 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.
According to county health director Christine Schuyler, The warm winter and recent temperature increase have set the stage for a flourishing tick population, so providing an update on Lyme disease, the most common tick related illness in our area, seems prudent. The risk of human infection with Lyme is greatest in late spring and summer, but ticks can be active any time the temperature is above freezing.
There are many different species of ticks but locally the most common is the Deer Tick (or black legged tick), which may be found in many types of settings such as woodlands, tree stumps, lawns and gardens, around stone walls, nature trails, outdoor summer camps, and playing fields.
To prevent tick-borne illness exposure while outdoors you and your family can do the following:
- Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily.
- Wear enclosed shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants.
- Check clothes and any exposed skin frequently while outdoors.
- Use insect repellent with 20-30% DEET. (4)
- Stay on cleared, well-traveled trails. Avoid dense woods and busy areas.
- Avoid sitting directly on the ground or on stone walls.
- 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.
Additional prevention tips for homeowners to create a tick-free zone in your backyard to keep you, your family and pets safe from tick exposure:
- Keep grass mowed, along with clearing tall grasses and brush.
- Remove brush and leave around stonewalls and wood piles.
- Keep wood piles and bird feeders away from your home.
- Keep family dogs and cats out of wooded areas to reduce ticks brought into your home.
- Place swing sets, sand boxes, decks and patios in a sunny spot away from yard edges and trees.
- Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment.
To learn more about ticks, Lyme disease, and other diseases ticks can spread visit www.Health.NY.gov.