Thanks to a NY Times Story – Some Great Tips on Lyme Disease Protection

Author: Mosquito Squad of Fairfield, Westchester, and Rockland County

It’s spring again and tick season is upon us.  Westchester NY Lyme Disease season can cause dread in many Westchester NY residents.  We know our state is one of several from Virginia to Maine where Lyme Disease is endemic.

It’s important to know the facts about Lyme Disease.  You should also know some tips on how to protect yourself, your family and your pets from tick-borne diseases.  Recently, a New York Times articleLyme Disease, pointed out several facts and tips we think are important to know.  The article is lengthy, so here are what we think are key points to keep you safe.

Prevention is important.  Doing everything you can to reduce your exposure to ticks is crucial.  If fewer are around, your odds improve of not getting an illness.  It just makes sense.  So what are the best practices for Westchester NY tick control?

If you’re like most families, you spend the most outdoor time in your yard.  Eliminating places where ticks like to hide is the first place to begin.  Eliminating leaf litter and thick brush around your yard makes it difficult for ticks to hangout.

Ticks don’t like the sun, they literally dry out if left exposed.  Creating a 3’ strip of gravel or even low cut grass between your yard and any wooded areas helps keep ticks out.  For ticks who do manage to make it inside your yard, a barrier spray is the most effective protection.  An effective barrier spray will eliminate a large percentage of ticks that are exposed to it.

If you do find a tick on yourself or a family member, don’t panic.  However, do take action.  First, know how to remove a tick properly with pointed tweezers and slowly pulling it up.  You need to grasp it as close to the skin’s surface as possible.  This insures you leave no parts of the tick attached to the skin to spread infection.  Remember to place the tick in a locked plastic bag for testing.

Take comfort in knowing ticks generally need to be on the skin for 24-36 hours before any tick-borne illnesses are transmitted.  Checking yourself  during and after you’ve been outside, especially hiking on trails or even in your  yard is important to find them before they can spread infection.  Ticks become engorged with blood during the time they are attached to the skin.  They can grow to 10x their original size as they draw more blood.   This is another reason to keep tick in a locked bag so your physician can see its size.

What are the signs of Lyme Disease?  Whether you discover a tick on the skin or not but later observe a large, expanding rash, contact your physician immediately.  The classic Lyme Disease rash is one in the shape of a bulls-eye.  Any rash with a clear center should be a sign to contact your physician.  The rash may last up to four weeks without treatment.  Unexplained weakness, tingling, numbness or heart problems are other warning signs.  When these signs occur, contact your physician immediately.

The symptoms of Lyme Disease can occur 3 days to several weeks after infection.  A general sense of not feeling well, chills, fever, headache, joint pain, muscle pain, neck stiffness can all be symptoms.   Symptoms can leave and later return with Lyme Disease.  If any of these symptoms reoccur without explanation, see your physician to discuss your concerns.  Lyme Disease when caught early involves a simple blood test.  The test allows your physician to diagnose Lyme or rule it out in order to investigate other health issues the symptoms may indicate.

If untreated, Lyme Disease bacteria can spread to the brain, heart and joints.  Stage 2 Lyme Disease may occur weeks or months after being bitten.  Numbness or pain, paralysis or weakness of the face, skipped heartbeats, chest pain, shortness of breath are all signs of Stage 2 for this disease.

Stage 3 Lyme Disease can occur months or years after infection, if untreated.  Along with other symptoms mentioned, abnormal muscle movement, joint problems, speech problems and cognitive problems are indicative of this stage.

Unfortunately, ticks in the nymph stage can be smaller than the head of a pin.  Victims of Lyme Disease often never see them.  Although small, they are as likely to carry Lyme Disease as adult ticks.  Anytime you are outdoors, be alert for the signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease in yourself, family members and pets.

Westchester NY Lyme Disease season is from early May through November.  In order to begin effective Westchester NY tick control in your yard this season, call us about our two tick control programs.  Our effective barrier spray will eliminate most of the ticks from your yard.  We also offer an effective tick-tube program that targets ticks in the nymph stage where they are difficult to see.  Of course, during our visit we will discuss any areas of your yard that may be attractive to ticks and how to reduce their attractiveness.