PA’s Health Department wants to see your designs and videos for Lyme Disease prevention!

29 January 2024- The Shapiro Administration invites all first through sixth grade students in Pennsylvania to enter the 2024 Lyme Art Contest by creating a short video or poster focusing on the theme: “Protect. Check. Remove.”

The annual contest helps students, scout troops, and community youth programs learn how to prevent Lyme disease by educating them about ticks, including where they live, how to prevent bites, and how to remove ticks that do bite.

The deadline for entries is 5:00 PM, March 15, 2024. Contest information can be found on the Department of Health’s website.

Pennsylvania has one of the highest annual counts of Lyme disease cases in the nation, which further emphasizes the importance of teaching children about tick awareness and prevention measures.

Officials from the Departments of Health (DOH), Education (PDE), Environmental Protection (DEP), and Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) encourage young students to participate in the contest and help raise awareness of this disease.

“The Department of Health strongly encourages being outside as part of a healthy lifestyle. However, it is important to make a habit of checking yourself, your children, and pets for ticks that may carry Lyme disease,” said Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Bogen. “For the health of all Pennsylvanians, children and adults alike, it is important to learn how ticks transmit disease, take steps to prevent tick bites, learn how to remove ticks if found on the body, and seek timely medical treatment when needed to protect against Lyme disease.”

Finalists will be notified by mail and will be invited to an award ceremony at the State Capitol in May. In 2023, nine winners were recognized at a ceremony with representatives from DOH, PDE, and DCNR.

“It is of paramount importance for all Pennsylvanians to be aware of the dangerous effects of tick bites and Lyme disease,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin. “This art contest provides students with a creative way to combine their health and science knowledge with art to help raise awareness as tick season approaches.”

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

“This annual competition to raise awareness about ticks and Lyme disease is critical in helping Pennsylvanians safely enjoy the outdoors and find new adventures across the Commonwealth,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “Thank you to the departments of Health, Education, and Environmental Protection for prioritizing healthy outdoor habits through this creative initiative.”

“Exploring Pennsylvania’s beautiful environment is a huge opportunity available to everyone, but it is important we understand how to protect ourselves against ticks,” said DEP Interim Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley. “It is encouraging to see young people championing tick prevention, as they can truly make an impact. By raising awareness of ticks and tick-borne illnesses, we can help prevent Lyme disease cases, and safeguard our memorable moments outdoors.”

When exploring outside, it is important to take the proper steps to protect yourself from the chances of getting bitten like covering exposed skin, wearing light colors to help detect ticks, and using an EPA-approved insect repellent. Use permethrin spray on shoes, clothes, and gear as an added protection before spending time outdoors.

After being outside, check yourself, your children, and your pets thoroughly for ticks and remove any that you find. Then, 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 ticks that might still be stuck to your clothes.