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Mosquito- & Tick-borne Diseases: We answer your questions

On Monday's Answer Desk, we answered your questions on diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks. Here's a synopsis of what our experts had to say

Warmer temperatures and spring rains make for ideal environments for mosquitoes and ticks to flourish. Our call-in panel has this advice on avoiding their diseases:

{>}Do a 'defensive' check around your home. Donna Wilcox, whose family foundation advocates for better protection from mosquito-borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) says make sure your screens and windows are intact and fit tightly. Empty out standing water in pet dishes and kiddie pools regularly and often.

{>} If you have a pond or persistent standing water (like in a sump pump well in your basement) be sure to treat it with 'dunks.' The mosquito deterrent is available free in Oswego County (from cooperative extension). Other counties also offer the larvicide, or check with hardware stores for supplies.

{>}Minimize the danger from ticks, which carry Lyme Disease, by checking yourself and your pets when you come in from outside, especially if you've been in tall grass. Kathy Wallace, a Lyme survivor who now runs a support group, says that if you find a tick, you need to remove it. Use tweezers, or a tick remover tool (it's available online at Amazon, or at area hardware stores), but make sure you get the whole body including the head. Wallace says you should save it by putting it in a plastic bag and freezing it, then call your county health dept. to find out where to test it.

{>}If you test positive for Lyme (and often if you've had a tick bite, as a precaution) you'll be put on antibiotics. There are also support groups, including one for the Syracuse area which meets the 3rd Tuesday of the month, at 6:30pm at Natur-Tyme on Erie Boulevard. (more groups around Central NY: http://www.lymenet.org/SupportGroups/UnitedStates/NewYork/ Groups offer information and help in understanding the symptoms and stages of the disease.

The Answer Desk is back next Monday, with help & resources if you're watching over family members in frail health. We'll see you on NBC3, 5 - 6:30pm

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