New York has snagged the second spot on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) list of reported cases of tick-borne diseases.

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It's not the trophy we wanted but does emphasize the need for us to be more aware and proactive in protecting ourselves against the tiny troublemakers known as ticks.

Tick-borne diseases have become a huge concern across the United States, and New York State is no exception. New York is a breeding ground for tick-born diseases - literally.

Ticks are tiny insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals, and they can transmit various harmful pathogens while doing so. Tick-borne diseases are caused by these pathogens and can have major health implications if left untreated.

In New York, the most common tick-borne illness, according to the CDC is Lyme disease, which can cause flu-like symptoms, joint pain, fatigue, and, if left untreated, severe complications. Other tick-borne diseases prevalent in the state include Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis.

Our neighbors in Pennsylvania claimed the top spot in the United States for tick-born diseases and given our proximity and the fact that we rank high as well, it's so important to combat the spread of these diseases.

If you need to venture into wooded or grassy areas, make sure you wear long sleeves, long pants, and closed-toe shoes. Tucking pants into socks and wearing light-colored clothing can help you spot ticks more easily.

Anytime you're outside, you should consider using an EPA-approved insect repellent on any exposed skin and clothing and pay attention to the instructions on the label and reapply as recommended.

After you've spent any time outdoors, check your body, clothing, and pets for ticks. If you find a tick, remove it carefully using fine-tipped tweezers. And, if you find a tick and experience symptoms such as fever, fatigue, joint pain, or a rash, get medical attention right away.

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