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It’s tick season – learn how to prevent tick bites

It's tick season – learn how to prevent tick bites

(Woodbury, NJ)  - With the summer months quickly approaching and the weather finally warming up, the Gloucester County Department of Health and Human Services would like to remind residents to be aware of ticks and tick-borne diseases and learn how to protect yourself, your family, and your pets from tick bites.

Tick-borne diseases are infections transmitted by the bite of infected ticks. Ticks are cold-blooded and prefer to live in moist and humid environments, particularly in and near wooded or grassy areas.

Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger said, "Personal prevention measures as well as surveillance and control are key in preventing and controlling tick-borne diseases. Ticks can transmit disease and parasites from one infected person or animal to another and from place to place, giving them the ability to easily cause serious disease in large numbers."

Freeholder Jim Jefferson, liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services said, “Ticks tend to prefer places on the body that are shielded or hidden.  You should make it a habit to perform a daily tick check on yourself and your children if you spend time outdoors.”

When checking yourself or your children, it is important to pay special attention to under the arms, in or around the ears, inside the belly button, on the backs of the knees, in and around any hair on the body, between the legs, and around the waist.

Simple ways to protect from tick bites include: knowing where to expect ticks, walking in the center of trails and avoiding tall bushes or other vegetation, repelling ticks on skin and clothing by using repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 for skin and permethrin for clothing, and perform daily tick checks by taking the time after any outdoor activity to check your body for ticks.

With pets also at risk for bites, it is also recommend that daily tick checks also be performed on animals after they have been outside. It may also be a good idea to contact your local vet for suggestions of good tick-repellant products that will keep your pet safe and tick-free.

The county also encourages residents to protect your property from ticks by making your yard unattractive to ticks and animals that carry ticks. This can be done by keeping grass mowed short, keeping children’s toys, playground equipment, pools and lawn furniture at least 15 feet from wooded areas, creating a woodchip or mulch border between your yard and wooded areas, keeping areas under bird feeders and pet dishes clean and keeping trash in closed containers so it does not attract animals that may carry ticks.

For more information on Tick-borne Viruses, visit these sites:

New Jersey Department of Health Communicable Disease Service: VectorBorne Illness www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/vectorborne.shtml

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Tick-Borne Disease www.cdc.gov/ticks/diseases

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Stop Ticks www.cdc.gov/features/stopticks

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