GENESEO, N.Y., May 12, 2023 – With the weather beginning to transition toward warmer, more humid temperatures and people being outside more, the Livingston County Department of Health is reminding residents to guard against exposure to ticks as May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that spreads to humans after being bitten by an infected deer tick. Lyme disease cases peak in the summer months and can become very serious. The disease can become crippling or debilitating if not properly diagnosed and treated with antibiotics. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a rash that typically appears as a bullseye around the site of the bite. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system.
Anyone who plays or works outside is at an increased risk. Mowing lawns, picking up leaves and other outdoor activities can expose people to ticks. Ticks most commonly live in cool, moist environments. They can be found in gardens, around shrubs and in tall grassy and wooded areas. Deer, birds, mice and other animals can also bring ticks into your yard.
There are several things you can do to protect yourself and your family from tick bites. Below are some basic tips to follow:
- Mow lawns regularly and cut down brushy areas.
- Avoid areas that may be infested such as tall grassy, moist areas.
- Use protective measures:
- If you know you will be walking in tall grass, wear long sleeves and tuck your clothes in.
- Try to wear light colors so ticks are more visible. Ticks can be hard to see, as they may only be about the size of a pin head.
- Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours.
- Perform a tick check on yourself, your pets and your children when finished with outside work or play. Serious risks from Lyme disease can be reduced if the tick is removed within 36 hours.
- If a tick is found, do not apply mineral oil, petroleum jelly or heat. Use fine-tipped tweezers to remove the tick. Contact your doctor if there are concerns about incomplete tick removal or if a rash or flu-like symptoms develop.
Learn more about Lyme Disease including treatment options and other important information by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website or by calling the Livingston County Department of Health at (585) 243-7280.
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About Livingston County:
Founded in 1821, Livingston County, N.Y., is comprised of more than 61,000 residents in 17 towns located across 631 square miles of the Finger Lakes region.