A pediatrician who practices in Rochester says his office has been taking calls from concerned parents who have seen a rise in the number of ticks this spring.

Ticks are small crawling bugs which are part of the spider family. Many of them carry bacteria, viruses or other pathogens which can cause disease in humans and animals, according to www.lymedisease.org.

Dr. Walter Hoerman, who works as part of Greater Seacoast Community Health, said on Monday morning that routine checks should be enough to prevent children from contracting Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is most commonly spread in the midwestern and eastern United States by deer ticks, but Hoerman said there are other types of ticks, so the best thing to do is to monitor a child if you see one on them.

"The key thing I'm always telling people is to check their kids every night," Hoerman said, adding that a deer tick usually has to be on a person for 24 hours before there is trouble.

If there are any signs of a tick bite, which typically includes a "bull's-eye" rash, Hoerman suggests visiting a doctor. Antibiotics may be prescribed.

Hoerman said other signs that a child may have contracted Lyme disease include an unexplained fever and joint pains.

Tickborne diseases can be serious and can affect people of any age. According to the NH Department of Health and Human Services, across the United States, Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tickborne disease.

To remove a tick, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible. Pull upward with even pressure and make sure to remove the entire tick before flushing it down the toilet.

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @Kimberley Haas.