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Experts predict busy tick season

April 12, 2019 07:04 PM

With the warmer weather upon us, it's time to start thinking about protecting yourself from ticks. The experts say this is the time of year they really start coming out – and this year, conditions are right for us to see a lot of them.

We had a wet winter. That means many of the mature ticks survived.

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Now, with temperatures staying above 40 degrees, that means the ticks are coming out and staying out.

The Department of Health says now is the time to get prepared for the season.

There are many species of ticks, but the ones we hear the most about are the dog ticks, also known as wood ticks – and the blacklegged ticks more commonly referred to as deer ticks.

It's the deer ticks that carry the most diseases. Some of the better known illnesses that humans can contract from ticks include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and of course Lyme disease.

New York state actually has the third highest rate of Lyme in the country. The CDC says in 2017 more than 3,500 people came down with it.

The New York State Department of Health says their statistics show the number is actually closer to 8,000.

"Most people if they wind up getting Lyme disease can go to their physician and can get a normal three to four week course of antibiotics and they won't see any additional problems after that. There definitely is a subset of people though who if they don't necessarily notice those signs and symptoms and don't get treated right away can have longer lasting issues," said Byron Backenson with the New York State Department of Health.

A tip from the Department of Health is treat your yard now to try to cut down on the number of ticks you might have.

Backenson says they like to hide out in areas along the edges of things, like where the grass meets the woods or a flower bed meets the lawn. That's where you should lay down some insecticide.

When it comes to protecting yourself or your pets from Lyme, you should know there is a vaccine for dogs, but not for humans. The best defense we have is knowledge and preparedness.

  • Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily.
  • Make sure you have enclosed shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when you head outside and tuck pant legs into your socks or boots.
  • Perform routine checks of your clothes and skin when you are outdoors – and do a thorough check once you're inside.
  • Use an insect repellent and remember DEET works best.

Credits

Jacquie Slater

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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