Ticks are beginning to be active in Texas.
You might not realize you've been bitten until you get home.
Diseases spread by ticks are rising nationwide, and as Consumer Reports explains, it's important to take precautions to protect yourself from these dangerous pests.
"Ticks can be found from coast-to-coast, and the number of tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, have been on the rise in recent years. So it's really important to take the proper precautions," said Consumer Reports Health Editor Catherine Roberts.
The best defense is a good offense: Make it difficult for ticks to bite you. That means if you're out in a wooded or grassy area, be sure to dress correctly.
"You should wear long sleeves and long pants that are tucked into your socks to keep ticks from getting under your clothing. It's also a good idea to wear light colors so it's easier to spot any ticks that may be on you," said Roberts.
Also, before you leave your house, apply an insect repellent to any exposed skin, as well as the outside of your clothing. Repellents that contain 15% to 30% DEET earn most of the top spots in CR's tests, but CR also recommends some products with 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus, or 20% picaridin.
RELATED: Lyme disease prevention: How to protect yourself from ticks
Two of CR's best buy options are Total Home Woodland Scent Insect Repellent, and 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent 8.
When you get home, hop in the shower and check yourself for ticks.
"Showering can wash away any ticks that may be on your skin but not yet attached, and it's an opportunity to check your skin for any bites," said Roberts.
SEE ALSO: What you need to know about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
If you're bitten by a tick, don't panic. Just grab a pair of tweezers and carefully remove it. The sooner you remove the tick, the less chance it will have to transmit disease.
The ticks in the Houston area include the Lone Star Tick and the American Dog Tick. They can carry Lyme disease, so if you get bitten and develop what looks like a bullseye rash, contact your doctor.
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