Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

October 21, 2022
Contact: Beth Cefalu, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


NEW CITY, NY, - Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert remind residents to protect themselves, their children, and their pets from tick bites, especially during hiking, hunting, fishing, raking leaves, or taking part in other outdoor activities. You are still at risk for tick bites in the fall months, as ticks can stay active until the temperature falls below freezing or the ground is completely covered in snow.

A bite from an infected blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick, can cause Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, such as anaplasmosis and babesiosis. These tick-borne diseases are commonly occurring in the Lower Hudson Valley. Ticks are generally found in shaded and humid environments such as heavily wooded areas and tall grasses. However, in the fall, ticks also hide under leaves in backyards and parks.

"After you spend time in the outdoors, it is important to do a full-body check for ticks. This can help, protect you and your family from tick-borne diseases this fall season" said Dr. Ruppert.

Follow these tips to help protect against tick bites:

  • 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 child's doctor about using repellent on your children. Never let children put repellent on themselves.
  • 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 complete check of your skin when you go back inside. Common areas on the body to check for ticks are the thighs, groin, trunk, and armpits. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after going indoors (best within two hours) to wash off and 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).
  • Remove ticks quickly and safely. To lessen your chance of infection, remove an attached tick as soon as possible. Remove any attached ticks using this safe method: Using fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the tick near the mouthparts 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. After removing the tick, clean the bite area and your hands very well with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. For more information on tick bites, visit For tick identification, call the Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticultural Lab at (845) 429-7085.
  • Learn the symptoms of Lyme disease. After a tick bite, watch for Lyme disease symptoms for at least 30 days. Symptoms can include tiredness, headache, stiff neck, slight fever, swollen glands, muscle or joint pain, 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. The center of the rash may clear as it enlarges, resulting in a "bull's-eye" appearance. Sometimes many rashes appear, varying in shape and size. See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms or are feeling ill.
  • Do I need antibiotics after a tick bite? Although not routinely recommended, taking antibiotics within three days of a tick bite may benefit a person living in an area where deer ticks infected with Lyme disease are common, and there is evidence that the tick fed for more than one day. Rockland County is an area of concern for deer ticks and Lyme disease. Ticks have flattened, tear-shaped bodies at all stages of growth. If you are bitten by a tick, and its shape is not flat (i.e., engorged), it is a sign that it had a blood meal. This could put you at risk for common tick-borne disease transmission. If you experience a case like this, discuss the possibilities of antibiotics with your doctor.

"Be watchful when you venture outside this fall. Prevention remains the most effective method to protect yourself and your loved ones from being bitten by an infected tick" said County Executive Day.

Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent severe and long-term symptoms. If left untreated, Lyme disease is a potentially debilitating disease that can affect several organ systems and cause symptoms like fatigue, joint pain, arthritis, facial paralysis, heart problems, and neurological disorders.

For more information, visit our Tick-borne Disease Education and Prevention Program or call the Health Department at (845) 364-2500.