Spring has been a long time coming but now that it has arrived, outdoor activities will increase and so will the possibility of coming in contact with ticks.

The peak months for ticks are May and June. Anyone who gets out of manicured areas and into brush is likely to meet up with ticks.

Just off the Lemon Park walking path or the walking path by the water treatment plant are good places to find ticks.

Those who spend a lot of time in the brush, such as turkey hunters, morel mushroom pickers and some dogs are putting themselves at risk for tick exposure, said Mike Miller, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks chief of information production.

Morel hunters have to spend a lot of time walking through and reaching into the brush to find their mushroom treats.

Turkey hunters are even more exposed as they spend many hours sitting in brush areas while they wait for turkeys to come in and answer their call.

An insect repellant is a good way to prevent bugs from getting on exposed skin. Spraying ankles and legs will help keep ticks away from exposed skin.

Tucking pant legs into shoes will help keep ticks out.

Some camouflaged hunting clothing has built in insect repellent to keep the pesky critters at bay.

Ticks need a host to survive. Once they have found exposed skin they will imbed their mouthparts and start to engorge blood. Once they have drunk their fill of blood, they will drop off and start the cycle again.

Ticks are about the size of a head of a pin and can be very hard to find.

Start looking for ticks on clothing. Whether ticks are found on clothing or not, it is a good idea to check areas of exposed skin for ticks.

"Ticks like the hairline, neck and ears," Miller said. "That seems like the place they like to get on."

If a tick is found on skin, use a fine pair of tweezers and get as close to the head as possible. Be sure to not leave any mouthparts in the skin, Miller said.

Pull gently and firmly straight away then wash the area with soap. Tick bites can become infected so washing is important.

While the tick bite is not particularly painful, the diseases it can leave behind can be very serious. The two most common problems are lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

A bull's-eye rash is associated with lyme disease.

If a tick is discovered on the skin, pay attention to health changes. If a person starts to feel achy like they have the flu or the cold, they should go to a doctor immediately.

"Early diagnosis is critical," Miller said.

Miller found a tick on himself and developed flu like symptoms. He paid a visit to the doctor but it coul not be determined if it was lyme disease so he took antibiotics as a precaution.

Lyme disease is rare in Kansas with only 11 cases reported in 2012.

Follow on Twitter @galeR_Tribune