CONCORD, N.H. (CBS) – Health officials in New Hampshire are urging people to take precautions if they plan to be enjoying New England’s great outdoors.
The Department of Health and Human Services says “the ticks are already out in New Hampshire.”
New Hampshire reported 1,373 cases of Lyme disease in 2015, one of the highest rates in the country.
Officials are also noting that ticks can carry the deadly Powassan virus, contracted by one New Hampshire resident in 2013 and another in 2016. Powassan can cause inflammation to the brain and has about a 15 percent fatality rate.
“Ticks are out, and while we want to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors, we also want to encourage people to take steps to prevent themselves, family members, and pets from being bitten by ticks,” said Dr. Benjamin Chan, New Hampshire state Epidemiologist, in a statement.
Here’s a list of recommendations from the state to prevent tick bites:
· Avoid tick-infested areas such as overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter
· Use an insect repellent containing DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus every time you spend time outdoors
· Wear protective clothing (long pants and long sleeves to keep ticks off skin)
· Do daily tick checks on yourself, family members, and pets after being outdoors
· Reduce ticks around your home by keeping grass short and removing leaf litter
· Speak with your healthcare provider if you are bitten by a tick or if you notice a large bull’s-eye rash anywhere on you
· To remove an imbedded tick, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible or if none is available use your fingernails. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.