ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – With a warmer than usual summer across the United States, the threat of ticks could pose a problem to New York residents throughout the fall season, especially in Elmira.
Temperatures in the Southern Tier this week have reached the mid to high 70s, which is much higher than average for this time of the year. With temperatures this high, residents are beginning to encounter more ticks when walking outside.
Ticks will continue to remain active in areas that experience above-freezing temperatures, according to Jefferson Public Health Educator Lisa Lagos.
“As long as the temperatures are above freezing ticks are active. So you always want to make sure you’re protecting yourself if you’re outdoors,” Lagos said. “So if you’re hiking, if you’re camping, deer hunting, especially, you want to make sure you’re protecting yourself from tick bites.”
Tick bites can be dangerous to humans and other mammals due to their ability to spread illnesses. The backlegged tick, or deer tick, for example, transmits the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. These ticks are primarily found in deer and mice populations.
“You can treat your clothes with permethrin,” said Community Educator Matt Guagliardo, who suffers from Lyme Disease after being bitten by a tick in 2010. “Any kind of spray that has permethrin in it, you can put on your clothes and that will help protect you as you go out into the woods and hike around. And of course, check yourself.”
If outdoors for long periods of time, individuals are advised to use repellents and wear long-sleeve, light-colored clothing. Individuals are also encouraged to do a daily tick check and shower to remove any loose ticks after going back indoors. However, if you do find a tick, Public Health recommends removing it completely as soon as possible.
It is also important for residents to monitor for symptoms. Lyme Disease can sometimes show symptoms three to 30 days after a person is bit. According to the New York State Department of Health, the most severe symptoms may not appear until weeks, months, or years after the tick bite.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease may include the “Bulls-eye” rash known as erthema migrans, joint pain, chills, fever, fatigue, stiff neck, tingling or numbness in the arms and legs. If bit and experiencing symptoms, Chemung County residents are urged to visit their doctor to receive antibiotics.
More information on Ticks and Lyme Disease can be found on the NYDOH, Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Jefferson County Public Health website.