Take care when removing ticks

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Whether you're out taking a walk in the park or a hike up a mountain, ticks can be everywhere. If you find one on you, it's important to know the correct steps to take.

The black-legged tick is the most common in Vermont. According to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, it is responsible for more than 99% of tick-borne illnesses in the state.

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture's Patti Casey says the natural reaction for people is to pull the tick right off, but you are supposed to pull slowly and remove the whole tick. Casey says as long as you find the tick early enough, there is a lower risk of Lyme disease.

"The belief is that in order to transmit almost all of the pathogens that are known to be present in Vermont, the tick has to be attached to your body for at least 24 to 36 hours and become what we call engorged. That means they become full of blood and they get really big and obvious that's typically when people find them," said Casey.

If the tick has broken the skin, be sure to put alcohol on the bite area.

The most common areas in Vermont to find ticks are the southern and western parts of the state.