SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Tick season has started which means more people will be exposed to tick borne illnesses. 22News spoke with ticks experts and doctors today about the best way to protect yourself.

As the weather warms up, ticks become more active and they are smaller and closer than many people think. 22News went to a popular nature trail in South Hadley with Paul Killinger, Education Director of the Tick Report. He said you don’t have to go deep in the woods to encounter a tick.

“Where the biggest risk is usually in areas just like this, on the edge of a trail, on the edge of woods. They’re going to be on the grass that’s right on the edge here,” said Killinger.

Killinger collects then by simply waving a white flag over grass, the ticks just latch on. Dr. DePilar said in this area, ticks carry about five major infectious diseases. If you get bit, you should determine what type of a tick it was, how long it was attached, then see your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms.

“One of the major things that people complain about and end up coming to the doctor for is that they say, ‘Oh I feel achy, I don’t feel well, I have a general malaise,'” said Dr. Estaben DePilar, an infectious disease physician at Baystate Medical Center.

Both Killinger and Dr. DePilar recommend treating your clothing with Permethrin or DET in addition to regular checks. It’s not just people who have to worry about ticks, it’s pets too.

Lynn Burke uses tick medication for her dog but makes sure she looks as well, “Whenever we leave a park or we go out for a walk, we go home and I check him to make sure there are no ticks on him. We do regular baths, there’s only so much you can do, you’ve got to check yourself and check your pet too.”

The doctor said when checking for ticks, look for new freckles rather than ticks… they can be that small.