WILL THERE BE MORE LYME DISEASE TICKS THIS YEAR?
By Chris Williams on July 7, 2017.
The folks who know say we should expect a bad tick year in New England and that means a bad year for Lyme disease cases as well.
Why the higher number of ticks this year? It may just seem worse in comparison. Last year was actually a lower tick year in New Hampshire and much of the region because an extended drought reduced tick numbers. Ticks like high humidity and fail to search for and attach to host animals when it’s too dry. But that was then, moisture is back up, and a new crop of ticks is expected to be out in full force this year.
TICKS ARE ACTIVE AT SOME LEVEL FOR MUCH OF THE YEAR
There is no doubt that the tick season is getting longer as well. Although ticks are most active during warm weather months, the blacklegged ticks that transmit Lyme disease can become active and bite anytime the temperature is above 40 degrees. This concerns health officials as we have more days above 40 than we used to which means more tick activity, a longer tick season, and more opportunity for disease transmission.
In mid-May, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services issued a Press Release urging residents to take precautions against ticks and the diseases they carry. New Hampshire has one of the highest incidences of Lyme disease in the U.S., and Lyme is not the only tick-transmitted disease in our region. We also have cases of anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and the newest, Powassan virus.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services offers these precautions to help prevent tick bites this summer:
- Stay on trails, avoid tick-infested areas such as high grass, brush, or leaf litter.
- Wear protective clothing – long pants and long sleeves, closed-toe shoes and socks, ideally in light colors so ticks can be seen.
- Use an insect repellent containing DEET or permethrin (on clothing).
- Do daily tick checks on anyone who has been outdoors.
- Remove attached ticks immediately with tweezers and a gentle pull straight out.
- Run clothes in the dryer on high heat to kill any ticks on clothing.
- Reduce ticks around your home by keeping grass short and removing leaf litter.
Photo Credit : CDC/ Anna Perez acquired from Public Health Image Library