When the warm weather finally arrives in upstate New York, it’s time to enjoy the many beautiful parks and hiking trails that surround us. It’s also time to learn about the threat of Lyme disease that could be lurking along those trails.
Lyme disease is a serious bacterial infection that is transmitted through deer ticks. The New York State Department of Health reports that infected deer ticks exist throughout the state, including Broome, Tioga and Chenango counties. The ticks are more prevalent in the warm summer months, but some varieties can thrive whenever temperatures climb above freezing. Ticks do not fly or jump. They typically reside on high grass and bushy areas and can attach to your body or clothing when you brush past. When a tick gets on your skin or clothing, it migrates toward protected places, such as the groin, armpits and scalp. Once it attaches, it takes 36-48 hours for the tick to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, so it’s important to be vigilant about checking your skin and clothing after you spend time outdoors. If you find a tick on your body, remove it right away using sharp tweezers. Afterward, cleanse the area with an antiseptic.