Environmental officials warn campers, hikers and people with pets should not be lured into a false sense of security from issues with ticks this year due to very cold winter weather extending later into the Spring.

Experts say the pesky little bloodsuckers are expected to be out in force in spite of cold and less snow cover to insulate them from the temperatures.

There has been a steady increase in tick numbers over the past decades, translating into an similar increase in the number of cases of tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease and even allergies to red meat in people who have been bitten by ticks.

Lyme Disease can have life-long health effects while early symptoms resemble the flu.

People should wear long sleeves, tuck long pants into socks and check themselves over when they come in from outside. Ticks should be immediately removed by pulling the insect upward using sharp tweezers without twisting and wash the bite area with antiseptic.  Medical attention should be sought if a rash develops around the bite.

More information on ticks, tick removal and tick-borne diseases can be found by contacting the Broome County Health Department.  Resources for those dealing with Lyme Disease can be found through the Southern Tier Lyme Support group at www.SouthernTierLymeSupport.org