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About our BLAST program.


Lyme Connection's tickborne disease prevention efforts focus on the BLAST Tick-borne Disease Prevention Program. This nationally recognized educational effort was created by members of our task force and the Ridgefield Health Department in 2008.The program is based on peridomestic Lyme disease prevention research conducted in Connecticut. The BLAST acronym stands for:

  • Bathe within two hours of outdoor activity

  • Look for ticks and rashes daily

  • Apply repellents to skin and clothing

  • Spray the yard and maintain a tick-safe landscape 

  • Treat pets with veterinarian recommended products

These points highlight the most effective evidence- based recommendations for avoiding tick attachments and potential tickborne diseases. In addition to teaching effective prevention practices, the BLAST program raises awareness about the early signs and symptoms of tick-borne illness to promote timely diagnosis and treatment. 


We're especially proud of our social media campaigns.

Many of our social media campaigns were created in partnership with Discovery Communications. Lyme Connection was honored to be selected for their Creating Change program in 2016.



BLAST educational materials.

BLAST educational materials available HERE include:

  • age appropriate power points
  • downloadable recorded presentation
  • rack cards
  • social media graphics
  • health fair banner

 

 


Do you have a tick-safe yard? Take a look at our videos to learn what the latest science is saying.

Spray Safe, Play Safe


Lyme Connection is pleased to introduce the "Spray Safe, Play Safe: Tick Control Gets Reel" film series, five videos focused on backyard tickborne disease prevention. The project was funded by a Healthy Communities Grant from the US EPA and created by the Tickborne Disease Prevention Laboratory at Western Connecticut State University and the  BLAST Tickborne Disease Prevention Program. The project goal is to provide science-based educational materials for families living in tick-endemic areas to help them make informed decisions about dealing with backyard ticks.

Scientists and health educators are frequently asked about pesticides as a means of tick control.  We know that sometimes even the most well-intentioned people can misuse or overuse pesticides, or use ineffective products. posing a risk to themselves, their families, and the environment. Using a pesticide may be one tool that families can choose for managing backyard ticks, but the decision to apply a pesticide should be made only after carefully considering what active ingredients are effective for controlling ticks, how to safely apply pesticides, and when and where to apply them for maximum effect with minimal non-target effects. Navigating through all the pesticide information out there can be tricky. 


Commonly Asked Questions.


Place the tick in a sealed bag or plastic container. Do not wrap in tape or submerge in alcohol if you are planning to have it tested. You can dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.

What method is recommended for removing ticks?

The CDC recommends using fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.

Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.

After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

Avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible--not waiting for it to detach.


Where should I send a tick for testing?

Most health departments in Connecticut will submit engorged blacklegged (deer) ticks removed from residents to The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station(CAES) for free testing. Ticks are analyzed for the presence of Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis. Response times vary based on the time of year. Some health departments charge a small processing fee. If your health department does not participate, residents may submit ticks directly by downloading the forms online. Note that CAES will only test blacklegged ticks that have ingested human blood.

If you live outside Connecticut or wish to test a tick removed from a person or pet for a variety of pathogens, consider the following labs:

Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, UConn, Storrs, CT

TickReport, UMASS Laboratory of Medical Zoology,  Amherst, MA

Ticknology, Ft. Collins, CO


Which products are recommended to repel or kill ticks?

Always be certain the product you are purchasing has been proven effective against ticks. Follow label instructions and reapply as directed. These sources have compiled extensive information on this topic. Check out their websites:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Repellent Finder
National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) 
Environmental Working Group’s 2018 Guide to Bug Repellents 

  • Apply repellents to exposed skin and/or clothing. Do not use under clothing.
  • Do not apply near eyes and mouth, and apply sparingly around ears.
  • Never use repellents over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
  • Do not spray in enclosed areas.
  • Do not allow children to handle these  product, and do not apply to children's hands. When using on children, apply to your own hands and then put it on the child.
  • After returning indoors, wash your child's treated skin and clothes with soap and water or bathe.
  • According to the label, oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children under the age of three. 

Will washing kill ticks on clothing?

The CDC has just completed a study to determine the optimal drying times and washing temperatures to kill ticks. Dry clothes should be spun in high heat for 6 minutes, wet clothes for 50. Water temperature ≥54 °C (≥130 °F) is optimal to kill ticks.Read the study results HERE.


Dr. Neeta Connally
Dr. Neeta Connally

BLAST Prevention Program Scientific Advisor Dr. Neeta Connally recently spoke with writer Janet Jemmott about current research and best practices for avoiding illness. Read the complete interview HERE. Dr. Connally is an associate professor of biological and environmental sciences at Western Connecticut State University. She recently received an estimated $1.6 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for tick research. She is also heads the WCSU Tickborne Disease Prevention Laboratory


Have more questions about ticks?  

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station's Tick Management Handbook is an integrated guide for homeowners, pest control operators, and public health officials for the prevention of tick-associated disease. You'll find everything you need to know about personal and yard protection.