New York State is known for its beautiful scenery, including its many parks, lakes, farms and wineries, which are enjoyed by residents and tourists alike. With the first day of summer on the horizon and with more outdoor recreational opportunities available to us, it is important to remember that there are certain precautions that should be taken to guard against tick-borne illnesses.
Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases are on the rise, especially in Upstate New York. In fact, according to the Department of Health, from 2004 to 2016, the number of tick-borne diseases more than doubled in our state. Its a situation that has become truly alarming and is impacting more and more families every year.
Despite these staggering statistics, Gov. Cuomo chose to cut $1 million from the State budget allocated for research, education and prevention of Lyme and tick-borne diseases. With approximately 9,000 cases of Lyme disease reported statewide in 2017, we must treat this as a public health emergency. Now is not the time to be cutting critical funding necessary for the health and well-being of the people of New York.
PROTECTING YOURSELF THIS SUMMER
Prevention and education are the most effective ways to keep you safe from Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. The Lyme Action Network is a great resource for on-going research, data and prevention material. It is imperative to equip yourself with the most up-to-date information available to keep you and your family safe from the threat of Lyme disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a list of helpful tips and facts to better protect yourself. Some of the most important tips include:
- Know where to expect ticks;
- Treat clothing and gear with Permethrin, a strong insecticide;
- Use EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)-registered tick repellent;
- Avoid contact with ticks as much as possible; and
- After coming inside, make sure to check yourself thoroughly.
In the event you find a tick on you, a pet, or a family member, prompt removal is imperative; although, not every tick or bite will result in Lyme disease. Remove the tick with tweezers and then thoroughly wash the bite area and your hands with either rubbing alcohol or soap and water. To dispose of the tick, simply place in a sealed bag, submerse in rubbing alcohol or flush down the toilet.
This summer, get outside and explore our gorgeous state, but be aware of the risks involved. And remember, knowledge is key. There is much New York has to offer, and I hope folks are able to fully take advantage while keeping themselves safe.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.