Wellness Words July 2017

Wellness Words July 2017

HealthLink Littauer’sCarol Tomlinson-Head


Submitted by Carol Tomlinson, RN BS

Community Health Educator

Ticks:  Summer Pests With Serious Consequences

Summer has arrived in all its glory. We relish the warm weather and the many outdoor activities it allows. However, we must also contend with some of the pests of the season. Bugs and flying insects can become very annoying, bees and wasps are often frightening, and we won’t even talk about ants!

There is another common summer pest than can be much more than a nuisance. Certain species of ticks found in our area can carry Lyme and other diseases. Cornell University researchers published a recent study that found Lyme disease in the Northeastern U.S. is rising at significant rates. This disease can be severe and sometimes fatal, but there are steps we can take to protect ourselves from coming into contact with these summer pests.

Ticks live in shady, moist areas at ground level. They also cling to tall grasses, brush and shrubs no more than 12-18 inches off the ground. Ticks are most prevalent from April through September with August and September being peak season. There are many species of ticks but the black legged tick is the one that carries Lyme disease. These ticks are about the size of a poppy seeds to sesame seeds. They are much smaller than the also common dog-tick.

In order to protect ourselves from ticks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:

  1. Wear light colored long pants and long sleeved shirts, closed toe shoes, and tuck the legs of the pants into your socks.
  2. Use bug spray – 20% or greater DEET is recommended. Do not spray repellent under clothes.
  3. Treat clothing with a product containing permethrin. Do not spray it on your skin.
  4. Stay on cleared, well-traveled trails and avoid dense woods and bushy areas.
  5. Avoid sitting directly on the ground or stone walls.
  6. Keep long hair tied back.
  7. Check for ticks after being outdoors. Do a full body check (especially warm areas) and bathe as soon as possible.
  8. Check your animals for ticks.

How to safely remove a tick:

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick.
  3. After removing it, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or warm, soapy water.
  4. Dispose of the tick by submersing it in alcohol, wrap it in tape or flush it. DO NOT crush the tick with your fingers.

If you develop a rash or flu-like symptoms with a fever up to several weeks after being bitten, be sure to contact your physician. Tell your provider about your recent tick bite, when it occurred and where you most likely acquired the tick. It is important for you and your family to be tick-free to prevent Lyme disease. Being vigilant is your best prevention!

For more information, contact your county health department, NYS Department of Health at nysdoh.gov, or HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120. You can e-mail us at healthlink@nlh.org, see our website at nlh.org, or visit our new wellness center at 2 Colonial Court in downtown Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.

Tick Season conjures concern

Growing Concern

Deer-tick population increases in local counties

July 7, 2014




The deer-tick population has gone up in the region, increasing the prevalence of Lyme disease, local health officials say.

Kim Conboy, Montgomery County Public Health director, said Lyme disease has been spreading across the state.

“Montgomery County is along the leading edge of where there is a noted increase in deer-tick infection,” Conboy said in an email. “Lyme disease has been spreading north and west from the Hudson Valley.”

In some cases, a deer-tick bite can lead to Lyme disease.

According to the state Department of Health, in 2010, Montgomery County had 23 cases of Lyme disease, while Fulton County had three. In 2012, Montgomery County had 20 reported cases, while Fulton County had nine.

Cheryl McGrattan, a spokeswoman for Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville, said she has seen an increase in cases of people coming to the hospital with tick bites.

“Primarily, what our primary care centers are seeing are people who want help with tick removal, or they have taken the tick out but haven’t gotten all parts of it, or want to be checked for Lyme [disease],” McGrattan said.

She said doctors are reporting more tick activity this year over last year.

Nathan Littauer Hospital is a TickEncounter Prevention Partner, working with the University of Rhode Island to help prevent the spread of tick-transmitted disease.

Dr. Tom Mather, a public health entomologist with the University of Rhode Island, studies ticks.

“In general, there are, throughout the Northeast, more ticks in more places, in particular more deer ticks,” Mather said.

Mather blames the spread on an increase in the whitetail deer populations.

Deer and mice carry the ticks.

“They serve not to spread disease, but as the blood meal of the adult stage of the ticks,” Mather said.

Deer ticks can be found in shady, moist ground litter, and above the ground clinging to tall grass, brush, and shrubs.

Dr. Mark Will, a veterinarian with Glove Cities Veterinary Hospital, said he has seen the number of dogs with ticks increase over the last decade.

“Every year has been worse than the year before, and this has not changed,” Will said.

Will said pet owners should check their pets for ticks regularly.

The state Department of Health says if you find a tick attached to your skin, remove the tick with tweezers and watch for the symptoms of Lyme disease.

In 60 percent to 80 percent of cases, the first symptom of Lyme disease is a rash at or near the site of the bite in a “bulls-eye” circular patch or solid red patch that grows larger.

Around the time the rash appears, other symptoms, such as joint pain, chills, fever and fatigue, can occur. As Lyme disease progresses, severe fatigue, a stiff neck, tingling or numbness in the arms and legs, or facial paralysis can occur, according to the Health Department.

West Nile virus

West Nile virus also is a concern in New York state.

The virus is a mosquito-borne infection that can cause serious illness.

The presence of West Nile virus was confirmed recently in a mosquito pool in Rockland County. There were traces of West Nile virus in Fulton and Oneida counties in 2013, according to the state Department of Health. In Saratoga and Albany counties, there were cases of people testing positive for the disease.

According to the state Department of Health, no cases of West Nile were reported in Fulton or Montgomery counties between 2010 and 2012.

West Nile is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Many people who contract West Nile virus do not experience any type of illness, according to the state DOH. An estimated 20 percent of people who become infected will develop mild symptoms including fever, headache and body aches, and possibly a skin rash or swollen lymph glands.


Veterinarian Dr. Mark Will applies an anti-tick medication to his dog, Charlie, while veterinary technician Tammy Hagadorn helps
The Leader-Herald/Arthur Cleveland

dog tick

Wellness Words May 2012

HealthLink Littauer’s


Submitted by Ryan Wille, B.S.

Community Health Educator


Ticks are small spider like animals that bite to fasten themselves onto the skin and feed on blood. They live in the fur and feathers of many birds and animals. Tick bites occur most often during the early spring to late summer months in areas with high wild animal populations.

Most ticks do not carry diseases and most tick bites do not cause serious health problems. Your risk of developing disease is greatly reduced if the tick is removed within 36 hours. However, some tick-borne diseases include:

  • Lyme Disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Tularemia
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Relapsing Fever
  • Colorado Tick Fever
  • Babesiosis


Effective prevention and treatment of tick bites is the best way to avoid these diseases. There are several preventative steps that you can take to avoid tick bites. These include:

  • Apply an insect repellent. Use the repellents according to the directions on the label, especially when applying repellent to children.
  • Cover as much of your skin as possible when working or playing in grassy or wooded areas. Wear hats, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants with the legs tucked into your socks. If you think you may have a tick on your clothing, put it in the dryer for 10 to 15 minutes to kill the tick.
  • Wear gloves when you handle animals or work in the woods.
  • Take steps to control ticks on your property. Clearing leaves, brush, tall grasses, woodpiles, and stone fences from around your house and the edges of your yard or garden. Remove plants that attract deer and use barriers to keep deer, and the deer ticks they may carry, out of your yard. Also, check your pets for ticks after they have been outside.
  • Stay away from tick-infested areas.


If you have been bitten by a tick, the sooner the tick is removed, the less likely they are to spread disease.

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to remove the tick. If you don’t have tweezers, put on gloves or cover hands with tissue paper, then use your fingers. Do not handle the tick with bare hands. Grab the tick as close to its mouth as possible, the body will be above the skin. Don’t grab the tick around its bloated belly because you might push infected fluid from the tick into your body. Pull the tick straight out until its mouth lets go of your skin.
  • Don’t try to burn the tick while it is attached to your skin.
  • Put the tick in a sealed container and save it in the freezer for later identification if necessary.
  • Wash the tick bite area with warm water and soap. Wash your hands after removing the tick.


Watch for these symptoms after a tick bite and if any occur, contact your healthcare provider:

  • Flu-like symptoms develop
  • A rash or sore develops
  • Symptoms of a skin infection develop
  • Symptoms become more severe or more frequent


For more information, attend a free “Tick” Town Hall Meeting on May 14 at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown at 6:30 p.m. Learn how to keep yourself, your family, and your pets disease-free this season from a health care panel including Dr. Thomas N. Mather Ph.D., the world’s leading tick and Lyme Disease expert from the University of Rhode Island. To attend, call Littauer at 773-5533 or e-mail tick@nlh.org.