A few days ago I was laying on the couch with my dog, Pip; as I was scratching his belly and underneath his chin, my hand rubbed up against a bump on the inside of his right leg. Immediately, I checked to see what it was. I'm a paranoid pet parent so I expected the worse- was it a tick? Cancer? What am I feeling?

It ended up being a bug bite, but you can never be too safe or overly cautious when it comes to you and your pets; especially this time of year, when ticks are starting to pop up in yards, wooded trails and grassy areas.

According to WIFR, with the mild winter we had and all the rain, ticks are expected to be extremely bad this year. With the ticks comes a new, deadly virus known as the Powassan virus.

WIFR shared one Kentucky woman's experience with her own tick bite that's left her terrified over this new virus.

While the chances of you contracting the Powassan virus in Illinois are slim, you should still be careful and make sure you and your pets are protected.

Here are some helpful tips to avoid getting a tick bite:

Avoid areas of high brush when you're in the woods.
Wear long sleeves and pants when you can.
Check for ticks after every time you go outside.
Use insect repellent with DEET in it.
When you come back inside, use a lint roller on your skin and clothes.

Additionally, and this is the dog mom in me, make sure you keep up to date on the tick and flea medication you use on your dogs; our dogs get a K9 Advantix application every 30 days. I've even set a reminder on my phone so I don't forget.

In a Snap! Fitness

Catch Mandy James on “The Steve Shannon Show with Mandy James” on 97 ZOK from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.