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Military Health History Resources

Asking Veterans these questions will provide you with information helpful in understanding patients' medical problems and concerns, and in establishing rapport and therapeutic partnerships with military service members and Veterans. Answers may also provide a basis for timely referral to specialized medical resources.

Allow your patient to give you permission to ask these questions. Ask all military service members and all Veterans. Gain trust.

General Questions


  • Would it be ok if I talked with you about your military experience?
  • Tell me about your military experience.
  • When and where do you/did you serve?
  • What do you/did you do while in the service?
  • How has military service affected you?

If your patient answers "Yes" to any of the following questions, ask:
"Can you tell me more about that?"

  • Did you have a head injury with loss of consciousness, loss of memory, "seeing stars" or being temporarily disoriented?
  • Did you see combat, enemy fire, or casualties?
  • Were you or a buddy wounded, injured, or hospitalized?
  • Did you ever become ill while you were in the service?
  • Were you a prisoner of war?

Compensation and Benefits

  • Do you have a service-connected condition?
  • Would you like assistance in filing for compensation for injuries/illnesses related to your service?

Call VBA at 1-800-827-1000

Sexual Harassment, Assault, and Trauma

  • Would it be okay to talk about sexual harassment or trauma that you might have experienced while serving in the military?
  • Have you ever experienced physical, emotional, or sexual harassment or trauma?
  • Is this past experience causing you problems now?
  • Would you like a referral for some help with that?
    Many people find it helpful to get some support?

Exposure Concerns

  • What...were you exposed to?
    • Chemical (pollution, solvents, etc.)
    • Biological (infectious disease)
    • Physical
      • Blast or explosion
      • Bullet wound
      • Heat
      • Noise
      • Radiation
      • Shell fragment
      • Vehicular crash
      • Vibration
      • Other Injury
    • What... precautions were taken? (Avoidance, PPE, Treatment)
    • How...long was the exposure?
    • How...concerned are you about the exposure?
    • Where... were you exposed?
    • When... were you exposed?
    • Who... else may have been affected? (Unit name, etc.)

    Blood Borne Viruses (Hepatitis and HIV)

    • Were you born between 1945-1965?
    • Have you ever had a blood transfusion?
    • Have you ever injected or snorted drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine?
    • Have you ever been tested for Hepatitis C or HIV?
      Would you like a test?

    Living Situation

    • Would it be okay to talk about your living situation?
    • Where do you live?
    • Is your housing safe?
    • Are you in any danger of losing your housing?
    • Do you need assistance in caring for dependents?

    Stress Reactions / Adjustment Problems

    Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1)

    In your life, have you ever had an experience so horrible,
    frightening, or upsetting that, in the past month, you...

    • Would it be okay to talk about stress?
    • Have had nightmares about it or thought about it when you did not want to?
    • Tried hard not to think about it or went out of your way to avoid situations that reminded you of it?
    • Were constantly on guard, watchful, or easily startled?
    • Felt numb or detached from others, activities, or your surroundings?

    Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8355 (Press 1)

    Veterans Health Concerns

    Military Environmental Exposures (Any Era)

    • Burn Pit Smoke
    • Contaminated Water (benzene, trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride)
    • Endemic Diseases
    • Heat Stroke/Exhaustion
    • Hexavalent Chromium
    • Lead
    • Mustard Gas
    • Nerve Agents
    • Pesticides
    • Radiation (Ionizing & Non-Ionizing)
    • Sand, Dust, Smoke, and Particulates
    • TCDD & other dioxins

    Occupational Hazards: Asbestos, Industrial Solvents, Lead, Radiation, Fuels, PCBs, Noise/Vibration, Chemical Agent Resistant Coating (CARC)

    Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)
    Operation Enduring Freedom Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, (OEF/OIF/OND)

    • Animal Bites/Rabies
    • Blunt Trauma
    • Burn Injuries (Blast Injuries)
    • Chemical or Biological Agents
    • Chemical Munitions Demolition
    • Combined Penetrating Injuries
    • Depleted Uranium (DU)
    • Dermatologic Issues
    • Embedded Fragments (shrapnel)
    • Malaria Prevention: Mefloquin-Lariam
    • Mental Health Issues
    • Multi-Drug Resistant Acinetobacter
    • Oil Well Fires
    • Reproductive Health Issues
    • Spinal Cord Injury
    • Traumatic Amputation
    • Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Vision Loss

    Immunizations: Anthrax, Botulinum Toxoid, Smallpox, Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Cholera, Hepatitis B, Meningitis, Whooping Cough, Polio, Tetanus

    Infectious Diseases: Malaria, Brucellosis, Campylobacter jejuni, Coxiella burnetii, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, nontyphoid Salmonella, Shigella, visceral Leishmaniasis, West Nile Virus

    Vietnam, Korean DMZ, and Thailand

    • Agent Orange Exposure
    • Hepatitis C
    • Cold Injury

    Cold War

    • Chemical Warfare Agent Experiments
    • Nuclear Weapons Testing or Cleanup

    World War II and Korean War

    • Cold Injury
    • Chemical Warfare Agent Experiments
    • Nuclear Weapons Testing or Cleanup

    Additional Resources

    Tell your patient about VA's MyHealtheVet website.

    Gateway to Veterans Health Benefits and Services that contains:

    • Trusted health information
    • Personal Health Journal
    • Online Prescription Refill
    • Veterans can manage their own health
    • Links to VA Benefits and Resources
    • Links to Federal Resources