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Protecting yourself against ticks, Lyme disease

A local organization that raises awareness about them have been frequently getting messages about ticks this summer.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Nicer weather in the summer also means, unfortunately, ticks are no longer hibernating and are out and about in Western New York. As a result, experts say everyone needs to take preventative measures.

"It takes a couple of seconds to put some bug spray on and it takes a couple of seconds to do a tick check. Those couple of seconds could literally save you a lifetime of misery," said Rebecca Roll, founder of Lyme WNY.

Roll's husband has Lyme disease after getting bit by a tick nine years ago. 

This summer, she's getting an influx of messages from people asking for advice. 

"Every single day the past two weeks, I've had a friend or family member who has had a tick embedded or a tick attached and that's in my bubble," Roll said. "I get really concerned about what's happening outside of my zone."

You won't just see ticks in the woods or high grass — they could be right in your backyard.

Roll says you can spray it once a month to prevent ticks.

Still, it's important to be aware what the range of symptoms of Lyme disease look like.

"It could be the flu, it could be a spotty rash, it doesn't have to be this perfect bullseye. It just all depends on how your body responds to the bite," Roll said. 

Pets aren't immune either. 

"We really do encourage people to get their animals on flea and tick prevention as soon as they are of age and to keep them on it for their lifetime," said Melanie Rushforth, vice president of vet services at the Erie County SPCA. 

If you do notice a change in your pet, contact your vet. 

And if you are the one who gets a tick bite, Roll says to be your own advocate. 

"If you think something is not right and you think you may have Lyme disease, make sure that you really push for the proper treatment and get the proper help," she said. 

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