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How To Protect Yourself from the Increasing Tick Population

I think we can all agree that this may have been one of the longest, coldest winters Lake George has faced in recent years. While it may have damaged our spirits, it unfortunately did not cause any damage to the tick population. In fact, it did just the opposite!

Photo credit: bubble bath via photopin CC BY 2.0

The blanket of snow that covered the Northeast for nearly the last six months actually created a “cozy quilt” for baby deer ticks that are now starting their quest for blood as the weather warms up.

But aren’t ticks susceptible to the cold like other insects? That was my thought process, but the incredibly snowy winter seems to have done the tick population a favor by insulating them from the cold, frigid air.

In addition to a rising tick population, it is important to be aware that not only campers, hikers or those in wooded areas are at risk for coming into contact with infected ticks. Ralph Garruto, head of Binghamton University’s tick-borne disease program reported to the Associated Press that plenty of ticks have been found in city parks, playgrounds, work campuses and college campuses.

While Lyme disease is the most common and well-known disease spread by infected tick bites, there are other diseases to be wary of, as well. Babesiosis, a bacterial infection and the rare but extremely serious Powassan virus which attacks the brain can also be spread by deer ticks.

It’s important to be aware of these facts, but there’s no need to be afraid. We’ve gathered some great tips from the CDC on how to protect yourself and those around you from ticks when spending time outside.

Before going outside…

When you come back inside…

What should you do if you find a tick?

If you develop a bulls-eye shaped rash or fever, see your doctor as soon as possible. Diseases caused by tick bites have the possibility of becoming extremely serious, so the sooner a diagnosis can be made, the quicker it can be treated. And remember, take all necessary precautions to lower your risk!

The Washington Post / Associated Press
The CDC- Preventing Tick Bites
The CDC- Removing a Tick
NYS Department of Health