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Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School

Lyme Wellness Initiative

Patient-driven, evidence-based resources to empower you

Lyme disease is complicated — finding the information you need shouldn’t be.

We are here to help you navigate Lyme disease with actionable information, trusted resources, and practical support.

Each topic is thoughtfully selected and extensively researched to ensure hard-to-find information is accessible to everyone. From identifying a tick bite to managing symptoms, we'll equip you with the tools you need to feel empowered through every stage of your experience with Lyme.

Lyme Prevention & Action

AN OVERVIEW OF LYME DISEASE: LEARN HOW TO IDENTIFY TICKS AND PREVENT TICK BITES, WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A TICK, THE STAGES AND SYMPTOMS OF LYME DISEASE, HOW LYME DISEASE IS DIAGNOSED, AND ABOUT OTHER TICK-BORNE DISEASES.

OverviewWhat is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread to humans through the bite of an infected black-legged tick. It often causes a rash and can also cause mild symptoms that can be treated with a short course of antibiotics. But Lyme disease can become serious, especially if not treated early.

The condition is named for Lyme, Connecticut, where a cluster of cases was first described in 1977. Despite its name, Lyme disease has been reported in every U.S. state except Hawaii. Once thought of as a “woods of New England” problem, if you spend time outside, you should understand Lyme disease.

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Lyme Disease Topics

Action

What should you do if you find a tick?

Don’t panic. A tick — or even a tick bite — doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to get Lyme disease. However, you do need to act promptly to remove the tick. The longer a tick is attached, the more time it has to transmit Lyme disease and associated infections.

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Awareness

What are the stages and symptoms of Lyme disease?

If you develop symptoms of Lyme disease, especially after you’ve gotten a tick bite or spent time in an area where Lyme disease is common, you can ask your doctor whether you might have Lyme disease and if you should be tested for it. Download a printable list of Lyme disease stages and symptoms.

Download (PDF 148 kB)
Awareness

What other diseases can black-legged ticks spread?

Black-legged ticks can transmit other diseases in addition to, or instead of, Lyme disease. Though not as common as Lyme disease, other tick-borne diseases are on the rise and can be serious, so it is important to be aware of them.

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Protect YourselfYou can safely enjoy the outdoors

Tick bites can spread pathogens that cause Lyme disease and other infections. Preventing tick bites can help prevent Lyme disease.

Each of these steps adds an extra layer of protection and can help you enjoy the outdoors safely:

  • Use insect repellents

  • Tick-proof clothing and gear

  • Dress appropriately

  • Bring supplies.

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Have a question about Lyme disease?

If there is more you’d like to know about Lyme disease, submit your question here. We will not answer personal medical questions but will do our best to address the topic on our website.

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