Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

October 12, 2018
Contact: John Lyon, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                 Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert remind residents that as you spend time outside this fall, be sure to protect yourself from tick bites, especially as you go apple picking, hiking, hunting, fishing, rake leaves, or take part in other outdoor activities.

This advice takes on added importance, as a new tick species, the Haemaphysalis longicornis tick, commonly known as the "longhorned tick," has recently been found in New York State including in Rockland County. While the longhorned tick has transmitted disease to humans in other parts of the world, more research is needed to determine whether this can happen in the United States.

"Taking steps to protect yourself, your children and pets against ticks is the best way to prevent tick bites and tickborne diseases. It is encouraging that the same steps that protect against deer ticks are also effective against the longhorned tick," said Dr. Ruppert.

"A bite from an infected deer tick can cause Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases. You're still at risk for tick bites in the fall months, as ticks can be active when the temperature is above freezing. Avoid contact with ticks - be sure to walk in the center of paths, so you don't brush up against bushes and other plants, stay out of leaf litter, and don't sit on fallen trees, rock walls, or directly on the grass or ground," said Dr. Ruppert.

In addition, follow these tips to protect yourself and your family:

  • Check your skin for ticks daily. When outside, check your skin and clothing for ticks. Check often when in grassy or wooded areas. Brush any ticks off before they attach. Do a full check of your skin when you go back inside. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after going indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that may be on you. Do a final, full-body tick check at the end of the day (also check children and pets), and remove ticks promptly.
  • Remove ticks quickly and safely. Remove any attached ticks using this safe method: Using fine tipped tweezers, grasp the tick near the mouth parts as close to the skin as possible. Do not twist, turn, or squeeze the tick's body. Instead, pull the tick in a steady, upward motion away from the skin until the tick lets go. To lessen your chance of infection, remove an attached tick as soon as possible. For tick identification, call the Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticultural Lab at 845-429-7085.
  • Dress in clothes that protect. Wear light colored clothing, such as white or pastels. Wear a long- sleeved shirt, long pants, socks and shoes. Tuck your shirt into your pants and pant-legs into your socks. Wear sneakers or boots, not sandals. Tie back long hair or wear a hat.
  • Consider the use of an insect repellent. Carefully read and follow the directions on the repellent label. Some products should be used only on clothing, never on the skin. Talk to your pediatrician about using repellents on your children. Never let children put repellents on themselves.
  • Learn the symptoms of Lyme disease. After a tick bite, watch for symptoms for at least 30 days. Symptoms can include tiredness, headache, neck stiffness, slight fever, swollen glands, pain or stiffness of muscles or joints, and a red circular rash (called erythema migrans) that often appears at the site of the tick bite, usually within 3 to 14 days after the bite of an infected tick. The rash then grows larger. Sometimes many rashes appear, varying in shapes and sizes. Common sites are the thighs, groin, trunk, and armpits. The center of the rash may clear as it enlarges, resulting in a "bull's-eye" appearance. If you have any of these symptoms or are feeling ill, see your doctor.

For more information, visit or call the Health Department at (845) 364-2500.