ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — While camping and hiking on the region’s nature trails can be a great way to get outside, it’s important to remember how to do so safely.
Between the recent increase in tick bites and lyme disease cases on the rise, here are ways to prevent ticks from intruding on your next outdoor trip.
Dr. Alexandra Yamshchikov, Infectious Disease Physician at Rochester General Hospital, said that Lyme disease cases have been going up, with three times as many ticks being found in the community over the past ten years.
“Lyme disease is something that we’ve been dealing with in this area for a while,” Dr. Yamshchikov said. “Nationwide there’s about 500,000 cases that get diagnosed and treated each year, so it’s not uncommon. It is prevalent in this area and the number of cases in the northeast and Western New York is increasing.”
She also said well forested areas — or any location that has tall grass or bushes — can have ticks, with more cases naturally being found during the summer months. This happens because the weather is warmer and the ticks are most active.
However, humans aren’t the only one getting bit.
“Dogs can acquire ticks and they can also be susceptible to Lyme disease, so there is a very effective vaccine for dogs for Lyme disease,” she said. “And there are sort of vaccines in development for humans but it’s not at a stage where it’s readily available.”
The most common symptoms of Lyme disease are fever, and a target-appearing lesion near or at the site of the tick bite.
The most effective way to prevent tick bites is to thoroughly check your clothes after being outside and to use bug sprays that contain DEET.
While the health department does conduct active surveillance testing on ticks that are captured, people are encouraged to use tools such as the Tick Bot — a resource managed by the CDC, to report, manage, and better understand Lyme disease within the community.