MONTPELIER – Children across the state are being warned against lying down in the snow by the Vermont Department of Health, thanks to new reports that ticks may be lurking just beneath the surface. While generally dormant in winter, ticks may be drawn to the comparative warmth of snow angels, and some people have reported seeing the ticks in winter gear.
A surge of lyme disease has given a scare to any parent that still lets their children outside from time to time, but many had believed that the winter was still a time of safety from the insects. Ticks can survive in harsh temperatures, but are dormant in temperatures under 35 degrees Fahrenheit (275 Kelvin).
“We urge caution and tick checks at all times, regardless of the season,” said a statement released Friday morning. “Ticks are drawn to warmth, so activities like snow angels could lead to an increase in the chances for infection. And we are unsure how many ticks have been outfitted in winter gear, or who is supplying them with the items, but it may be that the ticks will be active in increasingly lower temperatures. As always, it is better to just never leave your house at any time.”
While the increase in tick numbers and lyme disease cases can be directly attributed to climate change, there is no information at this time regarding where the ticks are purchasing boots, hats, coats, and mittens.