Living with Lyme: How easy is it to pick up a tick while walking along the canal? It can take less than 15 seconds

Living with Lyme

FAYETTEVILLE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, but ticks are lurking year-round. 

NewsChannel 9’s Nicole Sommavilla tagged along on a tick collection with SUNY ESF Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Disease Ecology, Brian Leydet to see how close the tiny ticks are lurking to popular paths like the one along the Canal. 

It took Leydet 15 seconds to find the first tick and less than 20 minutes to find five. 

To give you an idea of just how small they are, we circled some of the smaller ticks: 

What Leydet finds most concerning, is what they are carrying

“10 years ago, we had very few ticks. It was Lyme disease was the first pathogen. Now, we’re seeing the invasion of things like Babesia, Anaplasma, it is more than Lyme,” said Leydet. 

The issue is that they all require different courses of treatment and in some cases, can be fatal. 

Babesia actually affects your red blood cells and your red blood cells are essential for carrying oxygen in your body. So, once it’s in the red blood cell, it’ll blow apart your red blood cell, and then your body can’t carry oxygen.

Brian Leydet

Leydet believes climate change has contributed to the invasion of these ticks.

“As we see these changes and shifts in climate, even though they’re very minuscule, it gives the ticks the ability to get through that life cycle and just increase in numbers,” Leydet said.

Unfortunately, once the ticks are here, there is not a whole lot we can do to eliminate them. 

So, Leydet says it is all about prevention:

  • Use tick repellent
  • Wear light-colored clothing so you can spot a tick
  • Perform tick checks daily
  • Wash your clothes immediately after exploring the outdoors
  • Put your clothes in the dryer, the heat will likely kill the tick

“Be aware. Be ready, you know. Protect yourself, protect your loved ones.”

brian leydet

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