Deadly Tick-Borne Virus Still a Threat in CNY
The calendar says October, but evidently, the thermometer can't read. Unseasonably warm weather in Central New York means tick season is extended, and that means you need to take precautions.
The NYS Department of Health is cautioning residents to take steps to protect themselves and their pets from ticks. According to the Department of Health, "ticks remain active until the temperature drops below 40 or 45 degrees, so it's important to take precautions and check yourself for ticks even as the weather cools down."
The warning comes as a case of Powassan virus was confirmed in Dutchess County. Earlier this year, three other cases were confirmed in Saratoga County. Powassan is a tick-borne virus that can cause symptoms ranging from mild flu-like symptoms to life-threatening inflammation of the brain. The disease remains extremely rare in New York State, with only 27 confirmed cases since 2000.
The Department of Health recommends that you take the following precautions when participating in outdoor activities:
- Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily, as well as enclosed shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants.
- Check clothes and any exposed skin frequently for ticks while outdoors.
- Consider using insect repellent.
- Stay on cleared, well-traveled trails. Walk in the center of trails. Avoid dense woods and bushy areas.
- Bathe or shower as soon as possible after going indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that may be on you.
- Do a final, full-body tick check at the end of the day (also check children and pets), and remove ticks promptly.
Make sure you provide your pets with the appropriate flea and tick repellent and treatment as well.