In recognition of Lyme Disease Awareness Month this May, I urge East Enders to kick ticks and their infectious Lyme Disease to the curb with good property management.
Tick Numbers Up, Lyme Disease To Follow
Due to the unusually mild winter, this season is expected to be the busiest for Lyme-carrying ticks, specifically Deer Ticks as well as the now-prevalent Lone Star Tick. When “flagging” a property to determine if there is evidence of ticks, generally picks up just a few of the pests. We recently discovered 39 ticks in only 15 minutes during one procedure — a very high number and a sign of what’s in store this summer.
In 2010, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention listed New York State as a top contender for Lyme disease occurrences. The most heavily affected regions, including our very own East End, are home to a tick population with half of all its inhabitants infected.
With the number of ticks being found, we expect the rate of Lyme Disease cases to rise significantly so it's vital for East Enders to protect themselves, their family and their pets by reducing the habitats where ticks like to live:
Ten Tips to Tick Ticks Off
1. Reduce leaf litter, brush and weeds at the edge of the lawn and around the house.
2. Cut grass short and regularly.
3. Restrict use of groundcover, such as pachysandra.
4. Remove brush and leaves around stone walls and wood piles.
5. Where mice play, ticks will stay: Seal stone walls serving as nesting sites and small openings in the house that are entry points.
7. Rake leaves, as needed.
8. Create a tick-safe zone — a sunny, dry area around the home, swing sets, decks and patios — that is free of brush piles.
9. Use wood chips to help keep the buffer zone free of plants and restrict tick migration.
10. Trim tree branches to let in more sunlight.
What is Lyme disease?
A bacterial infection caused by an infectious tick bite. Early symptoms include a “bull’s eye” rash, chills, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, and swollen nymph nodes. Untreated infections can lead to serious complications such as arthritis, heart and nervous system disorders, Bell’s palsy, miscarriages, stillborn births, and meningitis.
Additionally, the rate of other threatening tick-related illnesses is expected to increase. Ehrliciosis causes flu-like symptoms including headaches, muscle aches, malaise and high fever with untreated cases leading to central nervous system and organ damage, delirium and death. The malaria-like illness, Babesiosis, can also be fatal with symptoms such as fatigue, appetite loss, fever, drenching sweats, muscle pain and headaches.