Summertime is a great time in the Sullivan Catskills to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and numerous activities that are available. Sullivan County Public Health welcomes you and would like to remind visitors and residents alike that while beautiful, the wild animals and increased temperatures can pose health concerns.
Summer Safety Tips
Rabies continues to be a health concern in Sullivan County. To help protect your family and pets from exposure to the rabies virus, use the following guidelines:
- Do not feed, touch, or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or cats. Rabies is most often seen among wild animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes, but any mammal can be infected with the rabies virus.
- Keep family pets indoors at night and make sure they are up to date on all their vaccinations.
- Report all animal bites and contact with wild animals to Sullivan County Public Health Services at 845-292-5910.
TICKS AND LYME DISEASE
Ticks are in abundance during the warmer months in Sullivan County and can carry diseases such as Lyme and other bacterial infections. Please remember that just because you may get bit by a tick does not mean that you will become sick. These diseases are preventable by observing some basics tips:
- Wear bug repellant with DEET while outdoors. DEET is the recommended repellant for both ticks and mosquitoes.
- Wear long pants tucked into socks, and long-sleeved shirts while outdoors in tick prone areas such as high grass and forest areas. Light colors are also best to help see any ticks that may come into contact with you.
- Do a tick check every time after coming in from outside. Ticks like to attach in out of the way, protected areas. Be sure to check everywhere including the groin, belly button, in and behind the ears, between the toes, and knees and elbows. Ticks generally require more than 24 hours to transmit disease so finding and removing ticks quickly is important.
- Shower within two hours after being outdoors.
- If you find a tick, use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull up gently. Do NOT twist the tick. DO NOT use nail polish, petroleum jelly or a hot match to make the tick detach.
- After removing a tick, clean the bite site with an antiseptic and cover with an antibacterial ointment and a bandage. Watch the site for 30 days for signs of a rash and infection.
- If you develop a fever or rash within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, and where and when you most likely acquired the tick.
While the water is a great place to be to beat the summer heat, following basic safety precautions can help keep it fun and safe:
- Always wear a life jacket and appropriate footwear while boating, tubing, fishing, wading, or swimming. Most drownings happen when boaters stop and swim.
- Do not overestimate your swimming ability. While the Delaware River may look calm, there are steep drop-offs and strong currents which make swimming much more difficult.
- Never swim alone.
- Bring plenty of water. Do not drink stream or river water; even clean water can have natural bacteria.
While we enjoy the warm weather summer has to offer, it is important to remember increased temperatures can lead to illness. Those over 65, infants, and people with chronic illness, and those who work and play outdoors are much more susceptible to heat-related illness. The following signs and symptoms may indicate someone is having a heat-related illness:
- Heavy sweating
- Cold, clammy, pale skin
- Nausea or vomiting
To minimize your risks of heat illness observe the following:
- Limit outdoor activity during the midday when the sun is the hottest.
- Pace activity; start slow and gradually increase the pace.
- Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while being active.
- Avoid alcohol and liquids containing large amounts of sugar.
- Wear and reapply sunscreen as directed on the package.
With the summer heat comes an increased risk of thunderstorms. Thunderstorm activity is greatest in July and August and kills more people than floods and hurricanes. Following some simple reminders will help keep you safe:
- Monitor weather conditions.
- Recognize the signs of an incoming storm: towering clouds with a cauliflower shape, dark skies, and rumbles of thunder.
- Find shelter immediately; do not wait for lightning to strike close by to take shelter.
- Do not take shelter under trees.
- Stay at least a few feet away from open windows, sinks, toilets, and tubs.
- Do not take a shower or bath during a thunderstorm.
- Avoid using regular telephones during a storm.
- If you are swimming, fishing, or boating, get to land as quickly as possible.
- If you are on land, and cannot get to shelter, find a low spot away from trees and metal objects. Crouch down on the balls of your feet with your feet close together. Keep your hands on your knees and lower your head. Do not touch hands to knees to the ground, and do not lie down!
Sullivan County Public Health is here to help keep our visitors and residents safe. If you have any questions or need any more information, please call 845-292-5910.