Montana Department of Health and Human Services is informing the public that it is tick season. Chief of Communicable Disease Bureau Jim Murphy explains why the DPHHS is getting involved.

“We have had an early onslaught of warm weather which means the ticks have come out a little earlier,” said Murphy. ”We are trying to get the awareness message out there so that people can watch out for the ticks and take the precautions necessary to stay healthy. Ticks are one of those insects that we have in Montana that can end up on our radar because they carry disease.”

According to Murphy, there are 10 to 12 tick associated illnesses every year and some can be minor, but others may even cause death. Murphy talks about some preventative actions people can take when it comes to ticks.

“The best thing you can do is avoid tall grass,” Murphy said. “The ticks like to hide in that tall grass and they will hitch a ride as you are walking through that. We advise staying on trails and tucking in your pant legs into your socks. One of the most important things you can do after those outings is check yourself for ticks. Check your family members for ticks, especially little kids who might not be thinking about these things.”

As of now, the DPHHS has not received any diagnosed tick related illnesses in Missoula, but there are a few pending cases already being investigated in Montana.