As spring progresses, the Rockland County Department of Health reminds residents to take steps to reduce contact with ticks to prevent tick bites. Currently, there is no vaccine, for humans, that can prevent Lyme disease or the other tick-borne diseases such as ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis. “You can get Lyme disease if you’re bitten by an infected deer tick. Because deer ticks continue to be found in Rockland County, it is important to follow the five simple steps below to protect yourself when enjoying outdoor activities,” said Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, Rockland County Commissioner of Health.

1. Do a tick check: When outside, check your skin and clothing for ticks. Check often when in grassy or wooded areas. Check yourself again when you come inside. This time do a full check of your skin for any ticks. This is easily done when you bathe or shower. Check your children and pets too!

2. Remove ticks quickly and correctly: Remove any attached ticks using this method: grab the tick as close to the skin as possible with a pair of fine- tipped tweezers. Do not twist, turn, or squeeze the tick’s body. Instead, pull the tick in a steady, upward motion away from the skin until the tick lets go. If you remove an attached tick within 36 hours, the risk of infection is less. Cornell Cooperative Extension can let you know if the removed tick is a deer tick. Their number is 845-429-7085.

3. Dress to protect: Wear light colored clothing, such as white or pastels. Wear a long sleeved shirt, long pants, socks and shoes. Tuck your shirt into your pants and pant legs into your socks. Wear sneakers or boots rather than sandals when in grassy areas. Tie back long hair or wear a hat.

4. Consider the use of an insect repellent: Some products should only be used on clothing, never on the skin. Carefully follow the directions on the product label. Talk to your pediatrician about using repellents on children. Never let children put repellents on themselves.

5. Learn the symptoms of Lyme disease: After a tick bite, watch for symptoms for 30 days. Symptoms can include tiredness, headache, neck stiffness, slight fever, swollen glands, and pain or stiffness of muscles or joints. Some people will get a pink-red rash that gets bigger, called a “bulls-eye” rash. If you have any of these or are feeling ill, see your doctor.

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