Student art contest: Raising awareness about ticks

The 2022 Lyme Art Contest hopes to raise awareness of the prevalence of ticks and the types of diseases they carry, according to its sponsors.

The departments of Health (DOH), Education (PDE), and Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) sponsor the event.

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

The art contest is open to children in first through sixth grade. Entries must be received by 5 p.m., March 11, 2022. Look for contest materials on the Department of Health’s website

The Lyme Art Contest helps educate children, scout troops, youth community programs and their peers about where ticks are found and how to prevent encountering ticks in their habitat. DOH will notify finalists by mail and invited to an award ceremony in May 2022. 

Ticks in Pennsylvania

“Ticks are prevalent nearly everywhere in the commonwealth, even in your own backyard,” Secretary of Education Dr. Noe Ortega said. “The Lyme Art Contest is a great way to raise awareness by engaging teachers and students and using the arts to educate their communities.”  

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Pennsylvania reports up to 10,000 Lyme disease cases per year. A short course of antibiotics can successfully treat Lyme. If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. 

Ticks are usually found in shrubs, weeds, leaf litter, and tall grasses, but can be found anywhere there is grass.

READ: DEP to Track Ticks as Part of Study

To prevent a tick bite:

  • When outside, cover exposed skin, wear light colors to help detect ticks;
  • Use insect repellent that contains 20% or more DEET; 
  • Use permethrin spray on shoes, clothes and gear before spending time outdoors; 
  • Check yourself, your kids, and your pets thoroughly for ticks after being outside;
  • Remove any attached ticks;
  • Take a shower to help remove any ticks that you may have missed;
  • Put clothes in the dryer using high heat to help kill any remaining ticks. 

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

  • Improving cardiovascular health; 
  • Strengthening muscles and bones; 
  • Reducing chances of suffering chronic disease;
  • Reducing stress levels and improving mental health; and
  • Becoming more socially connected. 

DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn called the contest a great way to raise awareness of a major public health issue.

“Ticks are prevalent on public lands, such as the state parks and forests DCNR manages, ” she said. “But they also can be found in places people frequently visit, 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’s website or follow the department on Facebook and Twitter

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