Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Health Commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler want county residents to avoid Lyme disease and West Nile Virus.
Astorino and Dr. Amler offered tips for residents at the Marshlands Conservancy in Rye.
“Ticks and mosquitoes shouldn’t prevent us from enjoying the outdoors this spring and summer,” Astorino said. “Remember to cover up and use insect repellents to keep ticks and mosquitoes from biting, and perform tick checks daily on yourself, your family and pets after spending time in wooded and grassy areas.”
Astorino explained that appropriate attire in wooded areas includes wearing long pants tucked into your socks, a tucked-in long-sleeve shirt and shoes to create a barrier between tick and your skin. Wearing light-colored, tightly woven clothes will help show ticks more easily. When hiking, keep to the middle of the trail to avoid contact with shrubs and plants that can harbor ticks.
“It’s hard to get kids to wear anything but flip flops and shorts during warmer weather, but these are the wrong things to wear in tick and mosquito territory,” Astorino said. “Ticks don’t jump or fly. They stay low to the ground and grab onto people, pets, and wildlife that brush up against them. That’s why repellents and daily tick checks are so important now.”
Dr. Amler recommended repellents that contain 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin and follow the product instructions.
“Parents should apply repellents to their children, avoiding their hands, eyes, and mouth, and be sure to wash it off before bedtime,” she said. “Use products that contain permethrin on clothing.”
Other recommendations included treating clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin, which remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may provide longer protection. Pet owners should discuss tick preventive products with their veterinarian.
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