Putnam County Officials Are Making Sure Athletic Areas Are Safe And Student-Athletes Are Educated

CARMEL, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A warning was issued to parents on Monday.

Health experts say just because your child is playing on a well-manicured sports field, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fear ticks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting an increase in the area and they could be right there on the soccer field, CBS2 reported.

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“I am worried, but when we go inside, after she is finished playing, we always check her for ticks,” mother Victoria Dilonardo said.

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As a mother living in Putnam County, Dilonardo knows first hand what it’s like to deal with ticks.

“If she is playing outside, we are making sure that it’s tall grass, less of a chance of the ticks getting on her,” Dilonardo said.

Ticks (file/credit: Getty Images)

But it’s not just tall grass health experts are warning parents about; it’s the well-manicured, short grass they say you also need to keep an eye on, like when your child is playing on sports fields.

“Certainly, ticks are an issue and educating kids and parents on ticks is a great idea,” said Andy Irvin, superintendent of the Carmel Central School District.

Irvin said his district does everything it can to ensure its student-athletes are safe. Workers mow the grass often, make sure students have on proper gear and encourage them to leave their bags on the track around their turf field.

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“So they’re not laying their bags in the grass where things can fall into the bag,” Irvin said.

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Putnam County Health Department Commissioner Dr. Michael Nesheiwat said parents need to keep similar precautionary measures in mind during weekend sports, when their kids are playing on short-grass fields.

“We are all at risk. Even if we walk over one blade of grass, we are at risk, every season. That has to be a concern,” Nesheiwat said.

Nesheiwat said to make sure your child wears light-colored clothing to spot ticks easily, tuck their pants into shoes or cleats and spray on them and their clothes a safe amount of Deet.

“Parents have to inspect their children every evening to see if there are any ticks on the body,” Nesheiwat said.

The doctor said to leave the equipment bags outside because ticks may have crawled in, and also to keep in mind that the earlier your child’s game is, the higher the chance ticks will be around.

“Ticks love to be in moist, low grass, so a lot of games, whether it’s football, baseball, tend to happen in the morning. There may be dew on the grass and that’s where a lot of ticks survive and hang out,” Nesheiwat said.

A hang out-you don’t want to bring back home with you.

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Last year alone, Putnam County saw over 300 cases of Lyme disease. For more information, please click here.