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Annual reported Lyme disease cases by county, five-year average 2011-2015

Please see the notes about these numbers below.

Spring is back, and so are ticks (ugh)

lyme disease avg annual cases Northeast 2011-2015

The average annual number of reported Lyme disease cases by county between 2011-2015. (Please see the important notes below about these numbers.)

This part of the country -- the whole Northeast, really -- is a hot spot for Lyme disease. The map* above depicts the average number of Lyme cases** reported in each county each year between 2011-2015 -- the numbers are published by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There's a larger, clickable national map after the jump if you'd like to explore further.

New York is tagged as a "high-incidence state" for Lyme by the CDC -- it had the 13th highest rate of confirmed cases per 100,000 people across the three years 2013-2015. (Vermont had the highest rate, and Massachusetts the fifth.)

Here's info from the state Department of Health of ways to lessen the risk of being bitten by a tick and what to do if you are. (And don't forget about taking precautions for your dog, too!)

Look up

The map is at the top in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

* This map has a few complications, including: 1) It's a total count of reported cases, not taking into account population (so there could be a lot of cases in a given county, but if it also has a lot of people, the incidence of Lyme might be relatively lower than the count suggests) and 2) The counts are for the county of residence the patient, not necessarily where the person was exposed to Lyme.

**. As the CDC notes on its website, disease surveillance data has limitations, notably that 1) not every case ends up being reported and 2) reports depend in part on the effort and resources available in each state to collect them.

Earlier:
+ The spread of Lyme disease
+ Ask AOA: A good doctor to treat Lyme disease?
+ More Lyme disease -- a lot more

Comments

Is there a tick repellent?

I've tried several retail products labelled as tick repellents, but most are quite toxic (DEET and permethrin). Note that DEET does not work well on ticks and permethrin which works very well (but is also very toxic, keep cats away!), is only to be used on clothing not on skin.

That being said, there are two homemade recipes (one for pets and one for us) that work well.

Pets: Add 1 cup of water to a spray bottle, followed by 2 cups of distilled white vinegar. Ticks hate the smell and taste of vinegar, and will be repelled by this ingredient alone. Then, add two spoonfuls of vegetable or almond oil, which both contain sulfur (another natural tick repellent). To make a repellent that will also deter fleas, mix in a few spoonfuls of lemon juice, citrus oil, or peppermint oil, which will all repel ticks and fleas while also creating a scented repellent. Spray onto the pet's dry coat, don't get it in their eyes (or other sensitive areas). Spray down your pet once per day if they are only going outside to go to the bathroom, spray them several times a day if they spend the entire day outside.

Humans: In a spray bottle, mix 2 cups of distilled white vinegar and 1 cup of water. To make a scented solution so you do not smell like bitter vinegar all day, add 20 drops of your favorite essential oil or bath oil. Eucalyptus oil is a calm, soothing scent that also works as a tick repellent, while peppermint and citrus oils give off a strong crisp scent that also repel ticks. After mixing the solution, spray onto clothing, skin, and hair before going outdoors. Reapply every four hours to keep ticks at bay.

Even if you are using the tick repellent - be sure to give yourself a good "tick check" every day.

I've heard that geranium oil is also a natural tick repellent.

A couple of repellent suggestions.

Badger Balm makes a very effective, though somewhat greasy product. I've used it for years and have had zero ticks. I did switch just because it's a little oily to use all the time. They do have a spray, but I haven't tried that.

https://www.badgerbalm.com/p-21-anti-bug-balm-tins.aspx

If you want something locally made, the absolutely wonderful RAD Soap Co. makes this spray which I've switched to. It smells great, works very well, and there is a matching soap.

http://radsoap.com/hoe-down-all-natural-bug-spray/

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