Prevention and Early Treatment Can Take the Bite Out of Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is an infectious disease that affects more than 25,000 Americans every year. Living in certain parts of the US, especially the West and Northeast, puts you at higher risk for catching it. Left untreated, Lyme Disease can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system, and cause serious illness. Read on for important information about how you can prevent and treat it.

Lyme Disease is caused by a bacterium commonly found in blacklegged ticks. When infested ticks bite human beings, they transfer the bacteria, causing an infection. Typical symptoms include a large bull’s-eye-like rash at the site of the bite, followed by headache, fever and fatigue. The most effective way to prevent Lyme Disease is to make sure you are not bitten. To do this, you should:

  • Avoid tick-infested areas, such as wooded areas, tall grass or weeds.
  • Tuck your pant legs into your socks if you’re in a high-risk area. This will help prevent ticks from crawling inside.
  • Use insect repellent.
  • Check your body for ticks after being outdoors.

If you do notice a tick on your body, don’t panic. Early tick removal may reduce the risk of infection. To safely remove a tick:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers and protect your bare hands with a tissue or gloves.
  • Grab the tick close to the skin. Do not twist or jerk it. Gently pull straight up.
  • After removal, wash your hands with soap and water. Clean the tick bite with an antiseptic.
  • Watch for signs of illness, and see a health care provider if they develop.

Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated with a few weeks of antibiotics. Make sure to seek medical help if you suspect a tick bite and notice any symptoms. Log in to your Member Assistance Program (MAP) at for additional information.