May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, a chance for Lyme patients, activists and educators to spread information on how to prevent Lyme and tick-borne diseases. Lyme disease is the best known tickborne illness. But ticks can transmit several other serious illnesses, too, including babesiosis and anaplasmosis and more recently the potentially deadly tick-borne Heartland virus which is spreading across the United States.
Ticks are most likely to be encountered in early spring through late fall.
Here are some suggestions for personal protection from Suffolk County:
1) Wear light-colored clothing
2) Wear long pants and sleeves
3) Tuck your pants into your socks
4) Tuck your shirt into your pants
5) Use repellents as directed
6) Walk along the center of trails
7) Conduct frequent clothing checks
8) Once home, dry clothing on the highest temperature setting for 10 minutes to kill any ticks
9) Carefully inspect your body for ticks
10) Keep pets from tick infested areas and check them before entering the house.
- Keep lawn mowed and bushes trimmed
- Remove lawn debris and leaf litter
- Discourage rodents by reducing nesting sites (e.g., wood piles or holes in stone walls) or food sources (e.g. bird seed)
- Move lawn furniture and children’s toys away from the yard edges where ticks are more likely to be found.