BATH, N.Y. (WENY)--  The Steuben County Public Health Department is giving away free Tick Removal Kits for county residents and visitors. The warm weather has many itching to get outside and engage in outdoor activities, but warm weather also brings about the threat for ticks and tick-borne diseases. 

''These cards will help identify what kind of tick has bitten you. If you find one on yourself, what are the common diseases these ticks carry? It also has information on how to remove a tick effectively and safely.'' said Mealea Vandenburg, Public Health Education Coordinator for Steuben Public Health. 

Each kit possesses a NY State ID Card, alcohol pads, band-aids and a pair of tweezers.

The Steuben County Public Health is urging residents and visitors to take preventative measures against tick-borne diseases when outside. 

  1. Use Insect Repellent: Apply a repellent containing 30% DEET before going outside.
  2. Avoid Tick Habitats: Stay away from heavily wooded or brushy areas where ticks are likely to be found.
  3. Wear Protective Clothing and Footwear:
    • Opt for light-colored clothing to make it easier to spot ticks.
    • Treat clothing with permethrin for extra protection (note that permethrin should not be applied to skin and is toxic to cats).
  4. Conduct Tick Checks: After spending time outdoors, thoroughly check yourself, your children, and your pets for ticks.
  5. Remove Ticks Promptly: If you find a tick, remove it immediately to reduce the risk of diseases                                                                             

''If you ever find a tick on you, remove it as soon as possible. Take those fine tip tweezers and try to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible- pull it straight up,'' said Melea Vandenburg. 

Vandenburg said that while not all ticks carry diseases, it is important to be cautious of the ones that do. When left untreated, some diseases can leave persons with long-tern effects. Some of the common symptoms of tick-borne diseases include rashes, ache/pain and fever. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that outdoor workers are at risk of exposure to tick-borne diseases if they work at sites with ticks. Work sites with woods, bushes, high grass, or leaf litter are likely to have more ticks.

The Free Tick Removal Kit can be picked up at the Public Health office located at 3 East Pulteney Square, Bath NY 14810.