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.

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.