Don’t Get Sick From a Tick!

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From the Tioga County Public Health Department:

Lyme disease season is upon us once again! While you can get bit by a tick year round, there is typically a
surge in the spring and summer months. In 2019, New York State had 2,847 confirmed cases of Lyme, with
30 of those cases coming from Tioga County. It is likely that these numbers were even higher, as many
cases remain undiagnosed.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged
ticks, also known as deer ticks. There is a wide range of early signs and symptoms, which include: fever,
chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and/or a bull’s-eye rash. Serious
health complications can occur if Lyme is left untreated, such as: arthritis with severe joint pain and
swelling, irregular heart beat and/or heart palpitations, or inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
Prevent Tick Bites:

 Avoid grassy, brushy, or wooded areas with high leaf and grass litter
 Walk in the center of trails
 Treat boots, camping gear, and clothing with products containing 0.5% permethrin
 Use an insect repellent containing DEET that is registered by the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA)
 Wear long-sleeved, light-colored clothing
 Carefully check your body for ticks and immediately shower after coming indoors
 Examine pets and outdoor gear for ticks

If you find a tick on you, remove it as soon as possible! Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to
the skin as possible. Pull upward with even, steady pressure. Do not twist or jerk; this can cause the
mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. After removal, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or
soap and water. Lastly, dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet, putting it in alcohol, or placing it in
a sealed bag wrapped tightly in tape. Never crush a tick with your fingers.

Public Health Sanitarian, Albert Knapp, reiterates the importance of Lyme disease prevention, “Lyme
disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria impairs the physical abilities of the
infected person in its early stages, and something as simple as walking can become difficult. It can
eventually disable and potentially kill the person, making early treatment and preventative measures
crucial.”

For additional information and resources on Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, contact Tioga
County Public Health 607-687-8600 or visit https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/.

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