UNDATED (KDAL) - The Minnesota and Wisconsin Health Departments are urging residents to take precautions to protect themselves from ticks. Warmer weather means the "blacklegged" or "deer" tick activity is increasing especially in western Wisconsin and east central Minnesota. These ticks are smaller than the common "woodtick" and can carry lyme disease and other tick borne diseases such as anaplasmosis and erlichiosis. The number of lyme disease cases rose in both states last year. There were nearly 3500 cases in Wisconsin in 2010, a thousand more than in 2009. Minnesota reported about 1300 cases last year compared to 1200 the previous year. Tick borne illnesses can range from mild to severe and complications could even lead to death. Among the steps that can be taken to avoid tick bites are staying away from brushy and wooded areas, using effective tick repellants and wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants that can be tucked into socks or boots to create a tick barrier. Check yourself frequently for ticks and remove them promptly.