Preventing Ticks From Latching Onto You

Research Scientist Melissa Prusinski with outdoor tips

Mike Baggerman
May 30, 2017 - 4:00 am

AP Photo/Chris Young


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - There are several ways to protect yourself from being bit by one of the dozens of ticks that live in the region.

"If you like to garden or spend any time outdoors you can wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave so you can easily spot ticks when they get onto you," Melissa Prusinski, who is a research scientist and laboratory supervisor with the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Communicable Disease Control Vector Ecology Laboratory, said. "Closed toed shoes as opposed to sandals are a big preventative measure as well as wearing long pants and a long sleeved shirt if you can. Tucking in your pant legs into your socks or boots and your shirt into your pants so it can prevent access to your skin."

She also recommends avoiding tick infested areas, showering within a couple hours of returning indoors, and using insect repellents by following its directions.

Hikers will use the warm weather to enjoy the outdoors but ticks are extremely prevalent in the woods. Prusinski recommends staying on the well-traveled trails and to avoid sitting on the ground or downed-logs because small animals carry ticks around.

Inevitably, you or someone you know will be bit by at least one tick during the warm season. If you are bit, Prusinski recommends using a fine-pointed tweezer and grab them as close to the skin as possible.

"Pull in a slow, upward motion away from the skin surface until the tick releases," she said. "In most cases, you will get the tick out in one piece. If you break off the mouth part, it doesn't increase you risk of acquiring a tick-borne illness. It's similar to having a splinter, you might have some localized irritation and redness at the site."

WATCH: PROPER REMOVAL OF A TICK (Video courtesy of the NYS Department of Health)

One thing she said not to do is add a substance to the tick because while it will remove the tick, it will also irritate it and cause it to inject its bacteria into your body, thereby increasing the risk of lyme disease.

If you're concerned about a tick, Prusinski recommends a visit to the doctor. 


LISTEN: Melissa Prusinski from the New York State Dept. of Health on Preventing Ticks

TICKS - Melissa Prusinski RAW.mp3

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