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How Aware Are You About Westchester Lyme Disease Resources?

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

Almost everyone has played Tic-Tac-Toe at some point in their life.  We’re not sure if Tic-Tac-Toe started with any reference to Ticks but it seemed like the perfect game to help you learn more about them.

“Tick”-Tac-Toe is educational. As we’ve heard so many times, the best treatment is education. That perhaps holds true with ticks more than anything. With adult ticks, we have a chance of noticing them and hopefully pulling them out on time. But with nymph (baby) ticks, we often don’t ever see them since they’re about the size of a poppy seed. If you’re a teacher in Westchester County NY, use this game with your students to help them learn some critical information about ticks and Lyme Disease. If you’re a parent and want to help your kids learn more about Lyme Disease, this is a very memorable way to help them learn. If you’re an adult, peruse the questions, then read the answers and see if you had them correct. 

Two players often play against one another but teams can play as well.  Feel free to make teams any way they work best.

The standard rules are below, in case you forgot.

Time to play Tick-tac-toe:

Playing Tick-Tac-Toe on a 3×3 Board

  • Choose a player to go first.
  • Players alternate placing Xs and Os on the board until either (a) one player has three in a row, horizontally, vertically or diagonally; or (b) all nine squares are filled.
  • If a player is able to draw three Xs or three Os in a row, that player wins.
  • If all nine squares are filled and neither player has three in a row, the game is a draw.

Our game has two differences from paper-and-pencil Tic-Tac-Toe.  Here they are:

  1. You are playing online.
  2. You can’t make an X or O for your team unless you get the answer correct.

Two ways to Play

If you have one extra person to be Referee:

  1. The person not playing can be the Referee.  Have him or her print out the answers.
  2. The answers are marked A1, A2…B1, B2, etc. showing the Letters above each column and the number inside each box.
  3. During the game they say “No” or “Yes” and read the answer.
  4. If the team that picked the block was correct they place their X or O in the block on the screen using a piece of tape, sticky note, etc.
  5. The first team to get all their marks horizontally, vertically or diagonally in a row wins.

If you don’t have an extra person to be Referee:  (We call this Memory Tick-Tac-Toe)

  1. If you don’t have a Referee, don’t print out the answers or allow anyone to peek at them.
  2. Each team will take turns reading a box and choosing “Yes” or “No” for that box.  You won’t know whether the answer is correct or incorrect until all the boxes are answered.
  3. You will have to list each box on a piece of paper marking A1, B2, etc. for each box and the Yes or No answered for each box, as well as the team who answered.
  4. Once the players or teams have answered all the boxes, they each get to place their mark on the boxes they answered correctly.
  5. The answers are marked A1, A2…B1, B2, etc. showing the letters above each column and the number inside each box.
  6. If no player or team gets all their “X”s or “O”s in a row, horizontally, vertically or diagonally you begin again with a new sheet of paper for the next round of answers.
  7. Of course, in the second and succeeding rounds of play those who can remember the boxes they and the other team got correct and incorrect will win.

TIP for Memory Tick-Tac-Toe:  Remembering which box on the screen is a “Yes” or “No” gets confusing.  There is an easier way.  Remembering the correct answer and why it was “Yes” or “No” sticks.  It is much easier to get all nine boxes correct that way.  After all, isn’t knowing the answers the real point of the game?

GOOD LUCK!

ABC
1

The safest way to remove a tick is with nail polish and scraping them off.

1

VERY cold winters will freeze most ticks.  After severe winters, you will see fewer ticks outdoors.

1

Ticks as small as a poppy seed are called nymphs.  Even this small they will bite and can pass on a disease.

2

Reducing the number of ticks in your yard with a barrier spray is a good way to keep yourself and family safe from tick diseases.

2

Ticks cannot infect pets with the diseases they carry, only wildlife animals such as deer and birds.

2

Ticks are able to jump short distances and attach themselves to your clothes and skin.

3

Removing ticks quickly is not important.  Once you are bitten by an infected tick, you likely have the disease they are carrying.

3

If you are bitten by a tick, place it in a sealed plastic bag to show your doctor.  Your doctor can have it tested and your treatment may begin sooner if the tick was infected.

3

You will most often find ticks attached to your skin around your head, ears and neck.

Answers to the Game

A 1          No.  Never use any chemical, heat from a match, etc. to remove a tick.  This will only irritate your skin possibly increasing the likelihood of an infection.  See this link below on How to Remove a Tick Safely.

A 2          Yes.  Reducing the number of ticks in your yard will reduce your chances of being bitten.

A 3          No.  It is very important to remove ticks as quickly as possible.  Performing a tick check on yourself and family members twice a day when outdoors is recommended.  Performing a tick check after returning indoors each day is a minimum precaution.  Most tick-borne diseases won’t be passed onto the host (you) until the tick has been feeding for more than 24 hours.

B 1          No.  Ticks become dormant or slowdown in winter.  They can survive the harshest winter.

B 2          No.  Ticks bite dogscats and horses each year.  They all are subject to becoming infected with a tick-borne disease.  Some of these diseases you may have never heard of, such as Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis.

B 3          Yes.  If your doctor sees no tick bite on your skin and blood test results come back negative (no sign of disease) treatment may be delayed or your symptoms may be misdiagnosed.  Only 70% of the people infected by the Lyme bacteria get the classic “bulls-eye” rash sign of Lyme Disease.  It does happen that the blood test given in the first 30 days of a bite will show a negative result.

C 1          Yes.  Ticks in the nymph and adult stage can all bite and pass on their tick-borne diseases.  Nymphs are the ones most often missed when looking for ticks due to their size.

C 2          No.         Ticks cannot jump.  They travel by crawling.  In warm months, ticks will climb on the end of plant stalks and hold their two front legs out hoping a host (human, pet, deer, coyote, etc.) will come by and brush up against the plant they are on.  This is called “questing” by scientists.

C 3          Yes.        Our skin is the thinnest around our head, ears and neck so ticks often find it easy to attach there for a blood meal.  Of course, the amount of blood going to and from our head also supplies an ample amount.

If you would like to see the primary source for our game, click Top Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Ticks These Days.  Don’t forget to click on the other hyperlinks in the answers above.  These will help you know even more about ticks this summer season.