PLATTSBURGH — Bright yellow signs popping up in area parks are a reminder that ticks carrying Lyme disease can be found in our region.
The New York State Department of Health is providing the informational markers free of charge to municipalities to promote tick safety while spending time outdoors.
Rita Mitchell of the Clinton County Health Department’s Environmental Division said the signs “act as a warning that ticks found in the area may cause Lyme disease.”
The signs, made of sturdy aluminum to withstand North Country weather, include pictures of the deer tick, the species most commonly known to carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
“There are more ticks in our region than there used to be,” Mitchell said of the increase over the past few years.
“A lot of people, especially those visiting from out West, don’t really know about ticks and Lyme disease.”
Deer ticks live in shady, moist areas at ground level. They will cling to tall grass, brush and shrubs and will attach themselves to passing humans and other animals.
The tick will then crawl to a protected area on the body and begin feeding on the host’s blood over the next few days.
Not all ticks carry Lyme disease, but the risk is greatly reduced if the tick is removed within the first 36 hours of feeding off a host.
EARLY TREATMENT WORKS
The most common early symptom of Lyme disease is a circular rash appearing at or near the site of the tick bite. The person also sometimes has a fever or painful joints.
If untreated, the disease can create serious health problems, including severe headaches, painful arthritis, heart problems and central-nervous-system issues, sometimes occurring years after the initial bite.
Early treatment with antibiotics almost always results in a full cure.