CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - People across the country are being warned that this year’s tick season could be one of the worst in years.

Those knowledgeable in the subject say this year's mild winter has allowed tick populations to thrive.

Thomas Platts-Mills, a professor of medicine at the University of Virginia, says blacklegged ticks, which carry Lyme disease, are even more common in central Virginia because of the state’s heavy deer population.

Platts-Mills says one of the first signs of Lyme disease is a bullseye rash surrounding a tick bite.

"It’s clear that the correct treatment is doxycycline early, and that matters, so if you think you've had a tick bite or you've been in an area where there are tick bites and especially if you've had a bullseye rash, you should definitely see a doctor straight away," says Platts-Mills, who specializes in asthma, allergies, and immunology.

If you plan to walk near tall grass or wooded areas, Platts-Mills recommends wearing long pants and socks and using plenty of tick repellant.