Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Washington DC VA Medical Center

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My HealtheVet badge
EBenefits Badge

Lyme Disease

What is it?

yme disease is a bacterial infection from being bitten by an infected tick.

It's Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Bulls-Eye Shaped Rash

If left untreated the infection can affect the joints, heart, and nervous system. Your doctor can determine if you have Lyme disease based on the rash, your symptoms, and whether you could have been bitten by a tick.

How do I prevent Lyme disease?

You can avoid Lyme disease by:

  • Using insect repellent
  • Showering within 2 hours after walking in wooded areas or areas with high grass
  • Applying pesticides
  • Checking for ticks. Remember ticks may be small. Look carefully! Some are only as big as this: *
  • Removing ticks quickly

How do I remove a tick?

Your Goal: To remove the tick as quickly as possible. Not waiting for it to detach.

What you need:

  • Fine-tipped tweezers
  • Cleaning agent – rubbing alcohol, iodine scrub, or soap and water

What to do:

  • Don’t panic!
  • Grab the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible
  • Pull straight and steadily upward
  • Don't twist or jerk. Twisting or jerking can break the mouth of the tick off in the skin
  • If the mouth part breaks off, remove it with tweezers. If you can't get the mouth part out do not dig at the skin. Leave it alone and let the skin heal
  • After removing the tick clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water
  • Avoid folklore remedies such as putting nail polish or petroleum jelly on the tick. Remember your goal - remove the tick as quickly as possible. You don’t want to wait for it to detach.

For more information on preventing or treating Lyme disease go to this trusted website: