While Lyme disease is still on the rise, Lyme Disease Coalition, Inc. (LDC,Inc) has been out creating awareness. May 12th, was the first public awareness event held by the LDC, Inc. Several braved the rain and still came out to support awareness in the community, gathering under tents to swap stories, share prevention tips and purchase awareness and prevention items even getting in on winning raffles. The rain did not stop a couple from playing “Tick Toss”, knocking out the ticks on the target for extra points.
May 16th, the LDC, Inc. also gave their “Tick Talk for Kids” PowerPoint presentation to the Children at Choconut Elementary School reaching over 250 students, faculty and their families with take home packets. The students were very attentive and asked some great questions after the presentation. The LDC, Inc. also left the school nurse a FREE Tick Aid Kit to aid in the prompt removal of ticks found on children. After the presentation, the faculty also asked additional questions and took down information to acquire product to help keep their families safer. The stories the children told, also let us believe that awareness is working. Several told of how their parents and grandparents keep product available and use it not only on their families but also on their pets. Others told stories of prompt treatment when ticks were found on family. Immediately after the presentation, the school nurse removed a tick found. This school nurse is saving the ticks marked with the date and other information to give to the parents and allow them to follow up with their health care provider and / or send them in for testing. This is exactly what we like to see. This school is doing a model job helping to prevent the spread of tick-borne disease.
Two of the questions we would like to touch base on are;
1) How many ticks are there? Well are we talking about how many of just one kind of tick or how many different types of ticks are there?
There are actually over 800 different tick species according to Purdue University. “There are an estimated 899 species of ticks in the world, of which over 90 occur in the continental U.S. About 80 species are in the family Ixodidae, known as "hard ticks," and about 10 species are in the family Argasidae, known as "soft ticks."
We look at four main ticks here in PA at this time, which are the 1) the American dog tick,Dermacentor variablis ; 2) the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis ; 3) the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum ; and 4) a ground hog tick, Ixodes cooke according to Penn State University.
These tick species each can carry several types or strains of bacteria creating different types of illness. For more information on ticks and the diseases they can carry, we suggest both Penn State and East Stroudsburg University web sites.
2) Can you use the tick twister, oils and / or a cotton swab to remove ticks?
These methods are NOT recommended, as scientists believe the more a tick is agitated the greater chance of transferring the bacteria into our systems. The recommended way to properly remove ticks is with a pointed set of tweezers grabbed as close to the skin as possible and pull at a 90-degree angle gently lifting until the tick releases. Tick twisters can be used the same way, do not twist just get the tick between the crevice and pull up gently lifting until the tick releases. There are also tick cards made the same way, that can also be used. The goal is to lift the tick up and out with the least agitation as possible.
The Lyme Disease Coalition, Inc. also has several private presentations scheduled over the next several months, as well as another “Tick Talk for Kids” presentation coming to the Hallstead / Great Bend Library July 10th, at 10:15 am in the Library Park. (Please bring “treated” blankets to sit on).
Where you can find information: Susquehanna County Library, Hallstead / Great Bend branch, EMHS waiting room, http:lymediseasecoalition.org
Also, follow the local events on Facebook and the website: http://lymediseasecoalition.org https://www.facebook.com/pg/LymeDiseaseCoalitionInc/events