ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) -- It is the height of lyme and tick season, and experts in Anne Arundel County are urging you to guard against the potential dangers.
Tim Williams has more on what you should look out for---no matter where in Maryland you are.
It's an early onset of tick season and pet owners are well aware.
"Every time before you take them out, have a little towel and a little brush and you just check them because once a tick or fleas get into your house, they'll jump all over," said pet owner Charlotte Bland.
They're only as big as the head of a pen but deer or black-legged ticks can transmit Lyme disease, a potentially serious and debilitating condition. This year, the season is starting early.
"Not being an entomologist, I think part of it is that we had a pretty wet winter but it wasn't as cold as usual, so they're more likely to come out a little bit earlier than usual," said Dr. Peter Beilenson, Howard County Health Officer.
Beilenson says Maryland ranks among the 10 states most affected by Lyme disease.
"You have symptoms of headache, joint pain, fever or malaise, you should get checked, especially if you've been in an area where there's likely tick infection and infestation," he said.
Experts say this time of year is especially problematic for anyone spending time in the grass because ticks and fleas are at their smallest. They say if you're going to be out, follow the rules. First, use a repellent with the ingredient "deet." Next, wear long sleeves. Always check yourself thoroughly after being outside. Remove ticks promptly with tweezers and call a doctor within one month if you become ill or develop a rash.
"You have to really, really be careful and I try to be," Bland said.
Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics if caught early. For more information, click here.
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