By Ashley Burroughs Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC NEWS)- According to the Onondaga County Health Department, 50% percent of adult ticks that were tested carry Lyme disease.
Kim Adams, Tree Pest Information Service Director, says it is important to educate and learn how to protect yourself from catching the disease.
“You have a one in two chance of being exposed to Lyme disease once you have a tick bite,” Adams said. “One of the main issues we had in Central New York was that people weren’t checking for ticks.”
Adams has overcome the hurdle of checking for ticks since she has been bitten every year for the past three years causing both irritation and pain.
Adams said that ticks look like a crawling freckle but because they are small, they can go unnoticed.
Ticks feed off of birds, rodents and deer so be alert when you are in a forest camping or hiking and in areas with high grass.
When people go to these tick-prone areas, Adams said they should use bug spray and dress for the outdoors. She recommends wearing light color clothing because it is easier to see ticks, along with long sleeves, pants, and boots.
There are other ways to protect clothes and skin.
“Buy or treat your clothing with pesticides called permethrin and treat your skin with DEET to repeal the tick,” Adams said.
Anyone bitten by a tick should see their doctor. If that is not possible right away, here are tips for what to do immediately.
- Gently remove the tick with tweezers (Get as closely to the skin as possible)
- Do not uses Vaseline or matches to remove
- Keep the tick so it can be tested for Lyme disease
- Consult your doctor about antibiotics for treatment
Antibiotics are only effective within the first 6 months when treated for Lyme disease. If left untreated, the bacteria can spread throughout the body and potentially cause nerve damage.