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Prevent Tick Bites

Tips can help avoid tick-borne illnesses, such as Lyme Disease

This summer, several organizations have offered tick-prevention tips to help avoid tick bites, which could potentially lead to Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

While statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) show that the number of Lyme Disease cases in New York State decreased from 2000-2010, New York was still one of 12 states with the most reported cases of Lyme Disease. In particular, CDC maps show that the majority of reported cases in New York occur downstate.

The New York State Department of Health said that they are investigating other tick-borne illnesses, such as babesiosis, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. According to the NYSDOH, these diseases are most frequently found on Long Island and in the lower Hudson Valley region. The NYSDOH also said that the number of cases of the other tick-borne diseases has been increasing over the past few years, although the NYSDOH also noted that the number of these cases is still much smaller in comparison to the number of reported cases of Lyme Disease.

People need to be more careful about ticks in the summer, as the CDC states that most cases of Lyme Disease are reported in June, July and August. The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) states that ticks are most active in the warmer months when the pests are in the “nymph” stage, since they are smaller and can go on feeding for days without being noticed.

To raise awareness and to avoid tick bites, the TBDA recently released the following list of the Top 10 Tick Prevention Tips:

1. Purchase tick-repellent clothing, especially clothing treated with permethrin, an insecticide that repels and kills ticks. You may spray your own clothing with permethrin or seek out brands such as Insect Shield, ExOfficio’s BugsAway or ElimiTick from retailers like L.L. Bean and Eastern Mountain Sports, which remain effective for up to 70 washes.

2. Reduce the amount of skin exposed by sporting long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a hat.

3. EPA-approved insect repellent should be applied to exposed skin.

4. Venture in the center of woodland trails, and by all means avoid walking along any deer paths.

5. Every time you have been outside, check for ticks while you are out and as soon as you get back.

6. Never wait to shower. Bathing as soon as possible will help in removing unattached ticks from your body. Bath time is the perfect time to carefully inspect for any unwanted hitchhikers.

7. Take your clothes off and put them in the dryer at high heat for about 30 minutes to kill any ticks.

8. Inspect your pets when they come inside from the outdoors, as they may be transporting ticks that can then transfer to you.

9. Opt for light-colored clothing to make it easier to spot ticks.

10. Neatly tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants legs into your socks when possible to provide an extra line of defense against ticks.

For more information on tick-prevention and tick-borne diseases, visit the website http://tbdalliance.org.