SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — Illinois officials are urging residents to check themselves and their children carefully for ticks after spending time in wooded areas this spring.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Ticks carry Lyme and other debilitating and sometimes fatal illnesses such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, Ehrlichiosis, and Babesiosis.

Removing ticks with 24 hours reduces the risk of disease. Instructions for tick removal and awareness of symptoms are available on the IDPH website.

Tick populations in your area can be monitored on the IDPH Tick Surveillance Mapping App.

Officials say when visiting areas with woods, tall grass or brush, wear light-colored clothing to make ticks easier to spot. Walk in the center of trails and avoid foliage. Wear an appropriate insect repellent.

Check bodies thoroughly for ticks every few hours, and once home, put clothes in a hot dryer, bathe within two hours, and save any tick found on skin in rubbing alcohol or a sealed bag to take to a health care provider or to submit to a local health department.

Don’t hesitate to contact a health care provider immediately upon contracting a fever or rash.

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