As much as people have been enjoying this season's milder weather, it also means protecting yourself from the still very active ticks.

With temperatures looking to reach the upper 40s and even 50s again next week, thoughts have got to be turning to ticks.

I know they are for me as I spend more time with my family out in the backyard or heading out hiking on local trails. And they should be in your thoughts already, too.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, ticks exposure can happen in any season. And for us here on the SouthCoast, those ticks will likely be deer ticks – the ones that can carry Lyme disease.

Deer ticks are around all year round, but generally lay low in winter when temperatures are below 35 degrees.

But our temperatures have been much warmer than that and, as Elisabet, owner of Mosquito Squad of Southeastern MA tells us, that means deer ticks are out "seeking a blood meal any day that the ground is not frozen or snow-covered."

Yikes.

Typically people expect to start thinking ticks between April and September, their active season according to the CDC. But SouthCoast experts say start thinking now.

If you plan on heading out into wooded areas for walks with pets and family members, everyone should be taking those tick precautions.

That means wearing proper clothing that covers arms and legs, tucking pants into socks and even treating clothes and gear before heading out.

Of course, returning home means checking for ticks on yourself and your pet before heading in the house and showering soon after being outdoors.

It's also probably not too early to think about treating your yard, especially if you're going to start spending more time in it.

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