Oswego County News Release
Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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July 22, 2008

County Health Director Reminds People to Check for Deer Ticks after Spending Time Outdoors

The above photo was found at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme/ld_transmission.htm

School is out and families across Oswego County are spending time outdoors enjoying the area's beautiful beaches and wooded areas. However, because of the risk of tick-borne illness, including Lyme disease, county health officials urge people to avoid contact with ticks.

“We are seeing an increasing number of confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Oswego County,” said Dr. Dennis Norfleet, interim public health director. “In 2004 we had four confirmed cases and in 2007 we had nine. Already this year we have eight confirmed cases.”

Lyme disease, which is caused by the bite of an infected deer tick, may affect the skin, nervous system, heart and joints. If not treated early, it can have permanent and severe health effects.

“The deer tick population in Oswego County appears to be increasing. The New York State Department of Health is conducting a study that will tell us more definitively,” said Dr. Norfleet. “To control the spread of Lyme disease it is important for us to learn how to protect ourselves against tick-borne diseases.”

In some areas, any contact with plants or bushes, even in the backyard, has the risk of contact with ticks.

Dr. Norfleet urges all Oswego County residents to remember:

  • When in wooded and grassy areas, wear light-colored clothing (so you can more easily see ticks on you)

  • Wear pants and a long sleeve shirt.

  • Tuck pants into socks. After two to three hours outdoors, check for ticks on clothing and skin. Brush off any ticks on clothing before they can attach to your skin.

  • Do a thorough check of your body at the end of the day. Pay close attention to the back of the knees, behind the ears, scalp, arm pits and back. Check your children and pets.

  • Be sure to follow label instructions if you use insect repellents. Parents should use only small amounts of repellents on children. Children should not be allowed to apply repellents themselves.

  • If you remove a tick that has been attached for less than 36 hours, the risk of infection is small. To remove a tick, use tweezers, grasping the tick near the mouthparts, as close to the skin as possible. Don't squeeze, crush or puncture the body of the tick, which may contain infectious fluids. Pull the tick in a steady, upward motion away from the skin.

  • After removing the tick, disinfect the bite area with soap, rubbing alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide. Wash your hands carefully. Record the date and location of the tick bite. If a rash appears or you experience flu-like symptoms over the next 30 days, contact your heath care provider immediately.

For a detailed description and illustration on how to properly remove a tick, visit the New York State Department of Health Web site at http://www.health.state.ny.us/diseases/communicable/lyme/lyme_disease_alert.pdf

To learn more about Lyme disease, call the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3564 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3564, or visit the New York State Department of Health Web site at http://www.health.state.ny.us/diseases/communicable/lyme/.

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