NEW YORK (WENY) -- New York State officials recommend when going out in nature; wearing long sleeves and pants - in light colors if available - as the best way to prevent ticks. Jenn White, the director of the New York State Department of Health's Vector-Borne Disease Unit says long clothes make it harder for ticks to find exposed skin, and people may be able to brush them off their body before they dig in. This, combined with other bug prevention measures like wearing bug spray containing DEET and staying away from tall grass remain the best way to prevent getting a tick bite.

After going outside, experts say you should perform a tick check while outside and after coming inside. 

"Regardless of what you're doing outside or for how long you're doing it, a tick check always makes sense," said White.

If you do end up finding a tick on your body, officials recommend looking again, immediately, especially around your hairline and behind your ears, some of the most commonly unchecked areas.

"Do an even more thorough tick check because sometimes where there's one tick, there's more," White said.

People may need to start taking tick-prevention measures earlier than commonly thought.

"Anytime the temperatures are actually above 40 degrees, you can see ticks out and about in the environment. So that included some warm days, even in February that we saw. But, now that we're consistently seeing temperatures that are higher, the ticks are definitely out in full force," said White.

This year, officials are sounding the alarm about a disease found in ticks that can infect a person in less than 15 minutes, unlike Lyme disease which can sometimes take days to manifest on a tick's host. Ticks in New York can now carry the pathogen that causes Powassan virus. 

"That is our most rare tick-borne disease in New York State. But when it does infect someone, it can cause severe illness, and unfortunately even death in some cases," White said.

White says if you do get bitten by a tick and start developing a weird rash or flu-like symptoms, you should call your doctor.