Wolf Administration Launches Student Art Competition to Raise Awareness About Ticks, Lyme Disease

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania — As the number of Lyme disease cases in the state and across the country continues to rise, officials from the Departments of Health (DOH), Education (PDE), and Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) today encouraged Pennsylvanians to enter the 2022 Lyme Art Contest to promote awareness of the prevalence of ticks and the types of diseases they carry.

“Ticks that cause Lyme disease are found in every county and every green space, even in cities, which is why it’s so important to know the right steps to take to avoid getting bitten,” said said Acting Health Secretary Keara Klinepeter. “Through this art contest, we will be able to educate students and their parents about where ticks live and how to avoid getting bitten, furthering our commitment to promoting healthy behaviors and preventing disease. This initiative serves as a constant reminder to check yourself, your pets and your family for ticks after spending time outdoors.

The art competition is open to children in grades one through six. Entries must be received by 5:00 p.m., Friday, March 11, 2022. Contest materials are available on the Department of Health website.

The Lyme Art Contest was created in 2019 to educate children, scout troops, community youth programs and their peers about where ticks are found and how to avoid encountering ticks in their habitat . This year’s finalists will be notified by mail and will be invited to an awards ceremony in May 2022.

“Ticks are prevalent almost everywhere in the Commonwealth, even in your own backyard, and it’s important that Pennsylvanians remain vigilant when enjoying outdoor recreation,” said Education Secretary Dr. Noah Ortega. “The Lyme Art Contest is a great way to educate teachers and students and use the arts to educate their communities.”

In Pennsylvania, up to 10,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported annually, and more likely go unreported. Most cases of Lyme disease can be successfully treated with a short course of antibiotics. However, if the infection is left untreated, it can spread to the joints, heart, and nervous system.

Ticks are usually found in shrubs, weeds, fallen leaves and tall grass, but can be found anywhere there is grass. It is therefore important to take the appropriate measures to reduce the risk of being bitten. Outside, cover exposed skin, wear light colors to help detect ticks, and use insect repellent with 20% or more DEET. Use permethrin spray on shoes, clothing, and gear before spending time outdoors. After going outside, carefully examine yourself, your children and your pets for ticks and remove any that are attached. Then take a shower to help remove any ticks you may have missed. You can also throw your clothes in the dryer using high heat to help kill any remaining ticks.

The DOH, PDE and DCNR encourage Pennsylvanians to be safe when enjoying the outdoors and want to remind people of the benefits of recreating outdoors despite the risk of tick-borne illnesses. These benefits include:

  • Improve cardiovascular health;
  • Strengthen muscles and bones;
  • Reduce the risk of suffering from chronic diseases;
  • Reduce stress levels and improve mental health; and
  • Become more socially connected.

“Raising awareness of ticks, Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses through this competition is a creative way to help solve a major public health problem,” said DCNR Secretary , Cindy Adams Dunn. “Ticks are prevalent on public lands, such as DCNR-run state parks and forests, but they can also be found in places people visit frequently, including areas where children play. We are grateful for the partnership within our state agencies to help reinforce this important message.

For more information on Lyme disease, visit the Department of Health website or follow the Department of Health on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Mark O’Neill, DOH

Kendall Alexander, POE

Wesley Robinson, DCNR

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