Tick-Borne Illness Can Be Mitigated With Awareness

Outdoor summer recreational activities are a great way to spend time with family and friends, but they do carry some risks. Spending time in wooded areas can increase the likelihood of being bitten by a tick, and as a result, contracting Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
 
According to statistics from the Center for Disease Control, New York has the third most confirmed cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. There were 8,272 cases of Lyme disease reported in New York State in 2015. In fact, Seneca County Health Department officials have confirmed in a recent report (p. 31) that incidents of Lyme disease have increased in the county over recent years. To help raise awareness, extensive outreach campaigns have taken place to alert residents. In order to help combat Lyme disease, Ontario Countyand the Department of Health websites also offer helpful advice to stay safe and healthy during the warm months.
 
It is crucial all New Yorkers take care to avoid exposing themselves to tick-borne illnesses and check regularly for bites. Awareness is the first step to having a safe and healthy summer.
 
INFORMATION IS THE BEST DEFENSE 
 
Outdoor summer recreational activities are a great way to spend time with family and friends, but they do carry some risks. Spending time in wooded areas can increase the likelihood of being bitten by a tick, and as a result, contracting Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
 
Please keep in mind a number of simple tips to keep you and your family members safe, including:

  • Walk on cleared trails to avoid brush, leaves and tall grass;
  • Minimize skin exposure and tucking your pant legs into your socks;
  • Wear light clothing to help spot dark-colored ticks;
  • Shower soon after being outdoors;
  • Wear repellent; and
  • Try to limit the deer entering your yard.  

If you are bitten by a tick, Ontario County recommends using a tweezer to remove the bug. It stresses avoiding the use of “alcohol, Vaseline, gasoline, nail polish, nail polish remover or above all, a match.” Once a tick is removed, wash the area, the county suggests. If signs of a skin infection begin to develop, such as pain, redness, warmth or a “bullseye-shaped” rash, call a healthcare provider.
 
Additional information can be found at Columbia University Medical Center’s Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Research Center.
 
MAY IS LYME DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH
 
This month, especially, is a great opportunity to raise awareness of tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease. May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. As New Yorkers prepare to hike, swim and explore this summer, it is critical we take a moment to go over basic outdoor safety protocols. A little prevention can go a long way when it comes to Lyme disease.
 
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at kolbb@nyassembly.gov, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

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