The East End experienced a very mild winter, which means that it is highly likely that ticks are already out on the prowl. Since May is Lyme Awareness Month, we sought out advice from Brian Kelly, local tick expert and owner of East End Tick & Mosquito Control.
Approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by state health departments and the District of Columbia each year. However, based on recent estimates, the number of people who actually get Lyme disease could be significantly higher, about 300,000. And, an astonishing 70 percent of people who are diagnosed were bitten in their own yard.
Kelly advises that “prevention is better than a cure” and believes a proactive approach to tick safety is the way to go. When spending time outdoors, to limit the risk of contracting a tick-related illness, Kelly suggests:
1. Spray monthly between the months of April – October to control ticks on your property.
2. Ticks are everywhere! Always use a repellent when going outdoors and ALWAYS check yourself afterwards. (Pro tip: Have someone else check your back and areas you can’t see!)
3. Put a fence around your yard to help keep deer and other animals out of your yard.
4. Keep your pets confined to your landscaped lawn and never allow them to enter the woods and use a tick repellent such as frontline. If you travel with your pet, make sure you check them VERY carefully afterwards.
5. Teach your kids about the dangers of going into the woods and uncharted territory. Get them into the routine of checking themselves after being outdoors and ALWAYS check them yourselves.
6. Buy a tick removal kit and keep it handy at all times and learn how to properly remove a tick.
7. Keep your grass cut short and don’t over-water your plants and shrubs! Ticks are attracted to long grass and cool damp areas.
8. Ivy and other sorts of ground cover are tick hot spots; avoid them at all times.
9. As part of your spring yard clean-up, eliminate tick habitat by raking and removing leaves that have blown into your yard edges and under shady vegetation.
10. Perform tick checks twice a day, once at night and then again the following morning.
11. Tuck your pants into your socks and spray both your skin and clothing with repellent before going outdoors.
12. When coming in from the outdoors, put your clothes in the dryer and on a high heat for at least 15 minutes.
“The risk of contracting a tick borne illness, such a Lyme disease becomes progressively worse year after year. It’s important that you take the right steps to help keep yourself and your family safe, especially with the risk of co-infections with COVID-19 this year,” Kelly noted.
An early indicator of Lyme disease is a “bull’s eye” like rash; up to 60 percent of Lyme cases experience one, while others do not exhibit a rash at all. Additional symptoms to look for include chills, fever, fatigue, headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle and joint pain. After finding a tick, if you start exhibiting any of these symptoms you should contact a physician immediately.
To learn more about how to tick-proof your home, contact East End Tick and Mosquito Control at 631-287-9700 or visit tickcontrol.com.