If you're excited about the summer sun and the possibility of hiking and going to the lake, it's worth being careful: summer is also tick season. And the U.S. has a variety of tick-borne diseases that can be transmitted by tick bite and are classified as pretty serious. Even if you're not aware that you've been bitten by a tick, if you show up to a doctor with mysterious flu-like symptoms, fatigue, chills or other problems, it's worth mentioning if you've spent any time in mountainous areas, places with lots of grasses or parkland.
Ticks are in a lot of places; they tend to go where livestock and animal populations go, as that's how they survive. A study in 2012 found that ticks bearing Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne illness, were now being found in half of all U.S. counties, so just because you don't believe you live in "tick country" doesn't mean you shouldn't take precautions. Wear tick repellent, cover your legs as much as possible, stay in the center of trails and paths rather than traipsing through bushland, and inspect your clothes and body after you come in for any signs of ticks or bites. And if you're feeling off, speak with your doctor ASAP. Here are seven diseases carried by ticks that you should be aware of.