Spring is finally here and we could not be more excited! We’re eager to get out there—take a hike, go for a run, kayak, walk, and generally enjoy the weather. But with warm weather comes bugs, and the tick population is expected to be high this year. So here’s what you can do to protect yourself and your family.

Take preventative measures

Wear long, light-colored clothing when walking in heavy brush. In addition, some DEET can protect against tick bites and should be used in moderation.

Check for ticks daily

While wood ticks and dog ticks are the most common, deer ticks are the ones you need to look out for. They’re the size of a sesame seed, maybe larger if they’re engorged. Generally, deer ticks take up to 36 hours to transmit Lyme germs, so checking your family every day can play a huge role in prevention. Be sure to check armpits, scalps, behind the knees, and other skin creases as ticks prefer moist areas.

Remove the tick

If you find a tick, remove it immediately. Use tweezers and gloves if you have them. It’s important to remove the tick properly—pull it straight out. Don’t twist and pull. By twisting and pulling, you can leave parts of the tick behind, especially the mouth that can continue to harm you and your child. Once the tick is removed, wash the area thoroughly and clean your hands.

Watch for symptoms

Once the tick is removed, if you see a circular rash, specifically one shaped like a bulls-eye, you may have been exposed to Lyme disease as that’s an early indicator. In addition, fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue are common symptoms for Lyme.

If you, or anyone in your family is experiencing any of these symptoms, see a doctor for immediate testing.