Hunters beware of ticks outdoors

Hunters and hikers need to be on the lookout for deer ticks because cases of tick-borne disease are increasing in our region. Emily Selleck, Horticulture Educator in Essex County Extension makes the following comments: There is a public misconception that ticks disappear in cool weather, but ticks are active when the weather stays above freezing, usually from April through November. Adult ticks will emerge on warmer days during the fall and winter, and they can attach themselves to hunters clothing or to animal fur at that time. Checking for ticks and prompt removal of attached ticks is probably the most important and effective method of preventing infection. The deer tick or black-legged tick carries Lyme disease which can cause a typical bulls-eye rash at the site of the bite, then progresses into a flu-like illness. Sometimes, the rash goes unnoticed, but the flu-like illness is usually present. If untreated, chronic problems with the joints, heart, and nervous system often occur. Lyme Disease generally responds to antibiotics, especially in the early stages within 10-28 days. Speedy diagnosis is a key to successful treatment. Wear light-colored clothing with long pants tucked into socks to make ticks easier to detect and keep them on the outside of the clothes. You can also apply a repellant labeled for use for ticks directly onto your clothing. Upon returning home, remove, wash, and dry the clothing. Ticks may survive the hot water, but they cannot withstand one hour in a hot dryer. Carefully inspect your entire body and carefully remove any attached ticks. Tick bites are usually painless, and most people arent aware that they have been bitten. It takes 36-48 hours or more for transmission of the Lyme disease-causing organism to occur from an attached tick, and not all ticks are infected. Therefore, a tick bite does not necessarily mean a person will get infected. Prompt and thorough removal of an attached tick will reduce the chance of infection. When in doubt check with your doctor. Dogs can get Lyme disease too. Ask your vet about the vaccine. Visit www.entomology.cornell.edu/Extension/DiagnosticLab/IDLFS/DeerTicks/DeerTicks.html or www.tickinfo.com/deertick.htm for more information. Amy Ivy is executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Clinton County. CCE offices may be reached in Clinton County at 561-7450 and Essex County at 962-4810. More information may be found on-line at ecgardening.cce.cornell.edu or by sending an e-mail to a Master Gardener volunteer at askMG@cornell.edu.

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