'Tick Lady' educates kids on how to avoid illness

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SHIRLEY -

Many call Long Island the epicenter of tick-borne illnesses, and there's a new push to help kids get tick smart.

April Boitano, founder of Tick Wise and known as the "Tick Lady," goes to Long Island schools and campuses to educate students on the dangers of ticks. She was at William Floyd Elementary School in Shirley Tuesday.

Boitano says her father had undetected Lyme disease for years and eventually died from it. She contracted Lyme disease while pregnant and had a stroke because of it. She says it's affected her children.

Boitano says it's important for kids to understand how to prevent tick-borne illnesses. She says blood-sucking ticks have more opportunities to spread their disease because of warmer winters.

Potential symptoms of tick-borne diseases include a red spot or rash near the bite site, a full-body rash, neck stiffness, a headache, nausea, weakness, fever and muscle and joint aches and pains.

A new species of tick found on Staten Island called the Asian long-horned tick can cause flu-like symptoms.

Students took part in hands-on activities to reinforce their learning.

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