(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Pennsylvania currently has high tick activity as summer is fast approaching and temperatures are getting increasingly warmer.

The Pa. Tick Research Lab‘s weekly tick report shows adult female blacklegged (deer) ticks, adult American dog ticks, and nymph blacklegged (deer) ticks are all currently at high levels across Pennsylvania. Lone star tick activity is just above mild.

The Pa. Tick Research Lab Facebook page is emphasizing nymph tick activity is high across the state. Nymph blacklegged ticks are considered to be the most dangerous for transmission of tickborne illnesses because of their small size.

A bite from a tick can cause diseases like Lyme Disease, but this year, health officials are warning of a rare, dangerous disease — Deer Tick Virus (DTV).

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), DTV was found in March in ticks at high levels for the first time in multiple locations around the state.

Tips from the Pa. DEP for staying safe while outdoors:

  • Apply tick repellents containing permethrin to clothing and EPA-registered insect repellents such as DEET to exposed skin before entering the outdoors. Reapply as needed according to product label instructions.
  • Wear light-colored outer clothing and tuck shirts into pants, and pants into socks.
  • Walk in the centers of trails, and avoid wooded and brushy areas with low-growing vegetation and tall grasses that may harbor ticks.
  • After returning home, remove all clothing, take a shower, and place clothing into the dryer on high heat to kill any lingering ticks. Examine gear such as backpacks for ticks.
  • Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand or full-length mirror, including hidden areas such as the scalp, ears, armpits, belly button, and between the legs.
  • Check over any pets exposed to likely tick habitats each time they return indoors.
  • If a tick is found attached to your skin, use tweezers to remove it carefully, including the head. Monitor for symptoms and contact your doctor with any questions. 

You can remove a tick by pulling upward with tweezers. Then clean the area and your hands. Do not cover the tick with petroleum jelly, use heat to remove a tick, or wait for it to fall off.

Pets can also get ticks. Check your pet for ticks before they go back inside. The Pa. Tick Research Lab advises using a comb or a brush to help you see ticks in your pet’s fur. Tick prevention collars, topicals, and oral pills are also available for your pets.

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Tips from the Pa. Tick Research Lab for keeping your pets safe:

  • Treat bedding with permethrin: Use gloves and let dry before touching.
  • Perform tick checks regularly after being outdoors: check in ears and under armpits.
  • Treat pets with anti-tick medication or use an anti-tick collar.
  • Speak to your veterinarian about Lyme disease vaccine for dogs.

If you find a tick on your or your pet, you can submit it for testing at ticklab.org/test-my-tick. Testing ticks can determine if the tick is a carrier of any tickborne illnesses.