BOSTON (CBS) – It's feeling like spring in Massachusetts and summer is just around the corner. Unfortunately that also means it's time to start checking for ticks.
The state's department of public health announced Wednesday that "tick season has arrived in Massachusetts."
"At this time of year, healthcare visits related to ticks begin to increase and will remain elevated through the summer," the department said in a statement.
Ticks in the Bay State most commonly carry Lyme disease, babesiosis and anaplasmosis. In rare cases, they can transmit tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Borrelia miyamotoi and Powassan virus.
The department is reminding residents to think about ticks during their outdoor plans.
"Tick-borne illnesses can be severe and taking steps to avoid tick bites is important," state epidemiologist Catherine Brown said in a statement. "The best ways to protect yourself are to use a tick repellent with permethrin or DEET when you are outdoors, do tick checks on yourself, your children and your pets every day, and remove any attached ticks promptly."
The department recommends using bug repellents on skin and clothing to keep ticks away. Ticks can be removed with tweezers, and people should call their doctor if they have been bitten by a black-legged tick or experience symptoms after the bite.
More information about ticks in Massachusetts can be found here.
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