September is almost here and as you head outside, it's important to make sure you're armed with bug spray to prevent things like Lyme disease.  

There's a warning that ticks including those who carry Lyme disease are spreading to our area and throughout the southeast.   

"We're big outdoor people, we've seen an influx of people becoming more active outdoors and there's more hiking, there's more boating, just the increase of outdoor activities," Lori Hill, of Any Lab Test Now, said

Latrice Currie spoke to Lori Hill who says she is seeing more people come into her company and be tested for Lyme disease.

Statistics show there have been 445 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Tennessee from 2000-2016 with some experts estimating there were several more.

"Ticks are not just in the northeast in the upper midwest where we think they are, they're in the south, they're in the far west, these things are everywhere," one scientist explained.

A six-year-old tested positive for Lyme disease last year in Arkansas. 

"Never crossed my mind that it would be a problem," the girl's mother, Ashley Collins, said.

A recent study by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation studied more than 16,000 ticks. They found the black-legged tick, which transmits Lyme, was identified for the first time in 24 states including Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.

Symptoms can include fever, headache and fatigue.

"The two biggest factors I have seen is the bullseye rash around the bite and then flu-like symptoms," Hill added


Left untreated, Lyme disease can cause lasting symptoms of arthritis and chronic fatigue.

Channel 3 checked with the Hamilton County Health Department. They don't have any confirmed cases of Lyme disease so far this year, but everyone is encouraged to take precautions and use bug spray if you're are going to be spending time outdoors.