Spring Tick Borne Diseases Awareness

If you spend time outdoors, chances are you will encounter a tick. The Pike County Tick Borne Diseases Task Force would like to remind individuals about the importance of protecting yourself from ticks and how to avoid exposure to ticks.

Tick borne diseases (TBD) are on the rise across the country. Preventing tick bites and removing ticks that do bite are key to preventing tick borne diseases.

Tick Prevention
Preventative measures are a simple way to avoid contraction of TBDs. The task force recommends the following steps to help prevent tick bites:

  • Wear light colored clothing to help spot ticks that have crawled onto you.
  • Limit skin exposure when outdoors.
  • Walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with grass or brush.
  • Perform frequent, thorough tick checks shortly after spending time on trails or in the great outdoors.
  • To repel ticks, use products containing DEET for skin and Permethrin for clothes and gear or use natural oils that repel ticks.
  • Gear and pets should be checked for ticks before bringing into automobiles and/or home.
  • When home, tumble clothes in the dryer for 30 minutes to kill ticks.
  • Remove leaves, leaf litter and brush around lawns and houses.
  • Be mindful when outside for any reason such as taking out the trash or letting a pet in from a fenced in yard, etc.

What Happens If You Get a Tick?
If a tick does manage to attach itself to you, use fine tip tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. With even pressure, steadily pull upward, avoiding any twisting or jerking motions to remove the tick. Be sure to thoroughly clean the affected area following removal.

There is the option to send the tick to a laboratory to determine if the tick is a disease transmitter. Basic tick testing is available free to Pennsylvania residents through East Stroudsburg University Wildlife DNA Laboratory. Individuals can send up to five ticks at a time to be tested for various TBDs including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Results are available within three business days of the lab receiving the sample. For more information on tick testing, visit www.ticklab.org.

Tick-Borne Disease (TBD) Wellness Center
The TBD Wellness Center is located within the Pike Family Health Center on Route 739, in Lords Valley. It is staffed by a “Lyme-literate” Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner with extensive experience in both evidence-based research and treatment modalities specific to TBD. 

Adult and pediatric patients (age 5 and up) are seen on Wednesdays and Thursdays by appointment only. Individuals who suspect they have Lyme disease may be seen for diagnostic testing and verification of a TBD. Additionally, patients who have already been diagnosed and are seeking advice for management of current symptoms are eligible. 

Patients must be established with a primary care provider. Pediatric patients must be up-to-date on immunizations. For appointment information, call 570-775-7100.

About the TBD Task Force
The Pike County TBD Task Force is focused on decreasing the number of tick-borne illnesses by building community awareness through education, support, and advocacy. The Task Force offers educational materials to help people prevent tick borne diseases and safely enjoy the great outdoors. Educational materials can be found on www.pikepa.org/tick
The Task Force meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 10:00 a.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room, 506 Broad Street, Milford, PA 18337, and via Zoom. New members are welcome to attend.
For more information on ticks, visit the Task Force website at www.pikepa.org/tick or contact Brian Snyder at bsnyder@pikepa.org or by phone 570-296-3500.

Safe Steps Children’s Art Contest

The Pike County Tick Borne Diseases Task Force will hold its second “Safe Steps” Children’s Art Competition. Submissions must illustrate “Where do ticks live” or “How to protect yourself from tick bites.”

The art contest is open to children in grades K-6, broken into four groups: grades K, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6. One winner from each group will be chosen.

Entries must be received by April 05, 2023, at 4:30 p.m. Entries can be hand delivered to the Pike County Commissioners Office or mailed to: Pike County Commissioners Office Attn: Pike County TBD Task Force, 506 Broad Street, Milford, PA 18337.

Notification of winners will occur via letter by April 19, 2023. Contest winners will be invited to attend the May 3, 2023 Pike County Commissioners Meeting to accept his or her award.

Join the task force in this opportunity to help educate your child and their peers about where ticks are found and how to prevent encountering ticks by encouraging your child to participate!

Contest guidelines can be found on the Task Force webpage, www.pikepa.org/tick.