Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

May 11, 2023
Contact: Beth Cefalu, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645

Protect Yourself and Your Family from Tick Bites This Spring

Get your free tick removal kit!

NEW CITY, NY, - As we welcome the warmer weather and spend more time outside, Rockland County Executive Ed Day reminds residents to protect themselves from tick bites. A bite from an infected tick can cause Lyme Disease and other diseases such as Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis, and Powassan. These diseases are treatable with antibiotics but may be hard to diagnose. The most effective ways to protect yourself are through awareness and prevention.

The Rockland County Department of Health offers free tick removal kits to help you safely and correctly remove attached ticks. Email with your mailing address and indicate you want a tick removal kit to get your kit while supplies last.

To help protect yourself and your family from tick bites:

  • Be aware of where ticks are. Deer ticks live in shady, moist areas at ground level, and they will cling to tall grass, brush, and shrubs, usually no more than 18-24 inches off the ground. They also live in lawns and gardens, especially at the edges of the woods and around old stone walls. To avoid contact with ticks, stay on cleared, well-traveled trails, walk in the center of trails, avoid dense woods and bushy areas, and avoid sitting directly on the ground or stone walls.
  • Check your skin for ticks daily. Check clothes and any exposed skin frequently for ticks while outdoors. Check often and brush any ticks off before they attach. Do a complete check of your skin when you go back inside. Be sure to check for ticks on your children and pets too! It is easy to check when you bathe or shower, which you should do 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 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. 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. If you are heading outdoors, wear light-colored clothing, such as white or pastels, to spot ticks easily. 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: Early symptoms usually appear within 3 to 30 days after the bite of an infected tick. In 60-80 percent of cases, a circular bull's eye rash about two inches in diameter, called erythema migrans, appears and expands around or near the tick bite site. Sometimes, multiple rash sites appear. One or more of the following symptoms usually mark the early stage of Lyme disease: chills and fever, headache, fatigue, stiff neck, muscle and/or joint pain, and swollen glands. If Lyme disease is unrecognized or untreated in the early stage, more severe symptoms may occur. As the disease progresses, severe fatigue, a stiff aching neck, tingling or numbness in the arms and legs, or facial paralysis can occur. The most severe symptoms of Lyme disease may not appear until weeks, months, or years after the tick bite. These can include severe headaches, painful arthritis, swelling of the joints, and heart and central nervous system problems. Ticks can also transmit other diseases, so it's important to be alert for any illness that follows a tick bite. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop symptoms after a tick bite.

"I encourage County residents to take advantage of the Health Department's free tick removal kits and follow their recommendations so you and your family can experience our County's many parks and outdoor spaces in a tick-safe manner," said County Executive Day.

For more information, visit the New York State Department of Health website at