EAST STROUDSBURG — With the weather warming up tick season is upon us and that means you should be extra careful when you’re outside in wooded areas like the Poconos. Otherwise, you could fall victim to a tick bite or worse: Lyme disease.
Not every tick you’ll come in contact with in our region is infected with Lyme disease. Some are so it’s important to check for ticks, because now that the weather is nice, those little guys are hungry.
As the weather warms up, many of us will find ourselves outside in places like Brodhead Creek Park just outside Stroudsburg. But what many of us have to keep in mind is that while we’re out enjoying the weather so are ticks.
“Very, very bad to a human, dog, child, they’re bad,” said Tim Conroy of Stroudsburg.
Thomas Rounsville works at East Stroudsburg University’s Northeast Wildlife DNA Lab. One of the lab’s specialties is collecting ticks which are found mostly in wooded areas.
“You want to wear pants, also, put insect repellent, which keeps them away pretty well,” said Rounsville.
In the Poconos, wildlife officials say there are three types of ticks: the lone star tick, the dog tick, and the deer tick.
The deer tick is the only tick that can carry Lyme disease, if infected.
Lyme disease can cause a fever and aches.
The lab tests ticks for Lyme disease quite often. In fact, two years ago, lab workers created a Lyme disease tick-testing kit for people.
In the kit, you take the tick remover, grab the tick, put it in a plastic bag, put the label on a bag and on a form, fill out this form, and then you send it in for testing.
The kit costs $5 but to get the tick tested, it’s $40, which lab officials say is worth it.
“If you had a tick on you and it didn’t have Lyme, you can avoid unneeded doctor’s visits, unneeded antibiotics and go about your merry way without worrying about Lyme,” Rounsville said.
To check for ticks, you want to look in places like your legs and your scalp, especially behind the ears. If you happen to find a tick, you can use the Lyme-aid kit or just send the tick in a plastic baggie to East Stroudsburg University’s DNA Lab for analysis.
Sanofi Pasteur which makes flu vaccines in Swiftwater, donated $300,000 to the university’s science department. Some of the money will go to upgrading laboratory equipment to better serve student research.
“We’ll be able to buy some state of the art equipment, biotech equipment to help further train our students to do molecular biology work looking at infectious disease agents. So it’s going to be a wonderful asset to this department,” said Dr. Jane Huffman.
The $300,000 from Sanofi will also go to two scholarships for transfer students who are from Monroe County, are transferring to E.S.U. from a community college, and will be studying science.