July 2, 2013 – The Health Department advises New Yorkers to take several simple steps to prevent mosquito and tick bites this summer.
“When spending time outdoors in New York City or traveling, it is important to take steps to protect you and your family from summer pests,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “Taking precautions, including using insect repellent, can go a long way in preventing bites from ticks and mosquitoes.”
Even though West Nile virus has not yet been detected in New York City this season, mosquito bites may transmit West Nile virus. Last year, 41 New Yorkers were diagnosed with West Nile virus. Tick bites can also spread infectious diseases, including Lyme disease. Last year nearly 400 New Yorkers were diagnosed with a tick-borne disease, with most cases being Lyme disease. The vast majority of tick bites occur in areas outside of the City, such as the Hudson Valley, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The Health Department recommends the following tips when outdoors this summer:
Reduce Exposure to Mosquitoes
- Use an approved insect repellent containing picaridin, DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under three), or products that contain the active ingredient IR3535.
- Make sure windows have screens and repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
- Eliminate any standing water from your property. Report standing water by calling 311 or visiting nyc.gov/health/wnv.
- Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs. Keep them empty or covered if not in use. Drain water that collects in pool covers.
Reduce Exposure to Ticks
- Use insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Products containing permethrin can be applied to clothing/boots (not to skin) and kill ticks that come in contact with the treated clothing.
- Use flea and tick repellents on your pet. Speak to your veterinarian for guidance on appropriate products.
- When outdoors, check for ticks on yourself, children, and pets every 2 to 3 hours and upon returning from outdoors. If a tick is crawling on you, remove the tick with tweezers and discard immediately.
- Wash all skin treated with insect repellent thoroughly. Showering within two hours of coming indoors can also reduce the risk of being bitten by a tick.
- Ticks on clothing may be killed by putting clothes in a dryer on the highest heat for at least one hour.
For additional tips to protect you and your family against West Nile virus and tick-borne diseases, visit nyc.gov.