Tags Posts tagged with "tick problem"

tick problem

As summer arrives so too does the inevitable surge in tick activity. Our beautiful region, with its lush landscapes and thriving wildlife, provides the perfect habitat for these tiny, yet potentially dangerous, parasites. It’s crucial for residents to stay informed and vigilant to protect themselves, their families and their pets from tick-borne diseases.

Ticks, particularly the black-legged or deer tick, are more than just a nuisance. They are vectors for several diseases, including Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, hard tick relapsing fever and Powassan encephalitis. Each year, numerous cases of these illnesses are reported, with Lyme disease being the most common. Early symptoms can range from a rash and flu-like symptoms to more severe complications if left untreated.

Prevention is key

To minimize the risk of tick bites you can dress for the occasion, when venturing into wooded or grassy areas, wear long sleeves, long pants tucked into socks and closed-toe shoes. Light-colored clothing makes it easier to spot ticks. 

Tick and bug repellents are also another way to minimize risk, a repellent that contains picaridin or permethrin is most effective. Avoiding tick habitats, staying on marked trails and avoiding tall grasses and leaf litter where ticks are likely to be found are good practices. Be cautious around areas where deer are common, as they often carry ticks.

After spending time outdoors, be sure to conduct thorough tick checks on yourself, your children and even your pets. Pay special attention to areas where ticks like to hide, like under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, in the hair and around the waist.

For pets, particularly dogs, check around the ears, neck and between the toes, as ticks usually like to hide somewhere warm on the body. Regular grooming and the use of veterinarian-recommended tick prevention products can greatly reduce the risk for your furry friends.

What to do if you find a tick

If you find a tick attached to your skin, don’t panic. You can use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible and then pull upward applying even pressure without twisting or jerking, as this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin.

After removing the tick, be sure to clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub or soap and water and to dispose of the tick properly — submerge the tick in alcohol, place it in a sealed bag/container, wrap it tightly in tape or flush it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.

Monitor the bite site for any signs of a rash or flu-like symptoms. If you experience these symptoms, contact your health care provider promptly.

Preventing tick-borne diseases requires community-wide efforts. Local authorities and health organizations should continue to educate residents about tick prevention and control. Programs to manage deer populations and reduce tick habitats are essential in controlling the spread of ticks. 

Since 2015, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital’s Regional Tick-Borne Disease Resource Center has been operating a free tick helpline at 631-726-TICK (8425). Also, Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook University, has a tick-borne clinic at Lake Grove. 

A little precaution goes a long way in protecting against the dangers of ticks.