GREENSBORO, NC -- It's all about the power of three.
Illnesses from mosquitos, fleas and ticks have tripled in the last 13 years. From 27,000 in 2004 to 96,000 in 2016.
But there's another power of three and that’s the three ticks you need to worry about. These are the ticks that call North Carolina home and can cause you major trouble.
The American Dog Tick- carries two potentially fatal diseases- and it also causes tick paralysis. It's rare in adults- but can really affect children.
The Lone Star Tick- most aggressive and most likely to feed off humans.
The Blacklegged Tick- carries Lyme disease, which is on the rise in this country. To put it in perspective, the CDC estimates about 300,000 people develop Lyme disease each year and researchers believe that number will go up again.
Why? One theory is warmer weather means a longer season and a longer time for ticks to be active - but animal population could be part of it too.
"Another theory is that the spread of ticks' hosts, so mainly deer, is getting bigger. They are in more places, which means ticks are in more places, which means that we have a great chance of running across them,” says Catherine Roberts of Consumer Reports.
The best way to avoid a tick-borne infection is not to get bitten in the first place by always using an effective insect repellent. Consumer Reports extensive testing of insect repellents found products that contain between 15% and 30% DEET are best at repelling ticks, along with products with 20% picaridin or 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus.
"When you're in wooded areas you want to make sure to wear long sleeves, long pants, closed toes shoes, and it's a good idea to tuck your pants into your socks."
To make your yard less attractive to ticks, Consumer Reports says to keep your lawn mowed, remove leaves and other debris, and try to let as much sun into your yard as possible. A border of wood chips or bark-style mulch around your property can also help create a barrier to keep ticks from entering.
There are all kinds of myths suggesting what you should do if a tick latches onto you: hold a lit match next to it - smother it with nail polish.
Both of those methods are questionable. And you don't want questionable when it comes to the illnesses you could get from the tick.
Check out this removal video from USA Today, you want to take fine tipped tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible-- What you don't want to do is jerk it out. I know you'll be a little anxious...but twisting or jerking it out could mean more problems.
"Because if you just jerk it off, you'll leave part of the mouth and you also may squeeze the tick and squeeze more stuff out of it,” Dr. Janine Oliver, veterinarian
When you do get it out, save it on a piece of paper with clear tape or in a baggie. This way, if you start getting symptoms of a tick related disease, you’ll be able to figure out the kind of tick it came from.