An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News | Nov. 9, 2022

What You Should Know About RSV: Symptoms, Prevention, Care

By TRICARE Communications

You may have heard of a virus called respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV. RSV is a seasonal illness of special concern to children under age two, adults over age 65, and people of all ages who have a weakened immune system. Its symptoms closely resemble a cold or annual flu, so it’s important to know the signs of RSV. RSV symptoms can change quickly and put patients at risk of serious illness, hospitalization, and even death.
 
“RSV is a common virus that can affect anyone of any age, and its symptoms are generally mild and manageable,” said Col. Patrick Kennedy, chief of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division at the Defense Health Agency. “However, certain populations such as infants, especially premature infants or babies who are 6 months or younger, are at higher risk of serious disease. TRICARE encourages you to be familiar with the signs of RSV and see your health care provider if you think you or a family member has RSV.”
 
Recognizing RSV symptoms
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), RSV symptoms can appear in stages—not all at once—about four to six days after infection. Some signals that you may have RSV usually include:
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
 
Signs of RSV in very young infants may be irritability, decreased activity, having a hard time breathing, and breathing apnea (pauses between breaths). The most serious symptom of RSV is difficulty breathing. If your child’s breathing is rapid, as if they’re trying to “catch their breath,” or if you can see their ribs when they breathe, seek medical care immediately.
 
Preventing RSV
Most children will have had RSV before age 2, but anyone can catch RSV again. RSV is highly contagious and there’s currently no vaccine for the virus. Take extra care to keep infants or young children healthy, especially those who:
  • Were born prematurely
  • Have chronic lung or heart disease
  • Have a weakened immune system
 
If you have a child that’s especially high risk, talk to your child’s doctor about the drug palivizumab, also known as Synagis. Developed by a military pediatrician, palivizumab is a prescription drug that can help prevent severe RSV in certain infants and children who are at high risk for severe disease. According to the CDC, while the drug can help prevent serious RSV disease, it can’t help cure or treat children already suffering from serious RSV.

The CDC suggests these proactive steps to protect others and to avoid getting sick with RSV:
  • Wash your hands often for 20 seconds with soap and water, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid close contact with people who have cold-like symptoms.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Always cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue or upper shirt sleeve.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, toys, and mobile devices.
  • Stay at home if you feel sick.
 
TRICARE encourages you to contact your health care provider if you think you or a loved one has RSV. If you need to locate a provider, visit TRICARE’s Find a Doctor page. Remember urgent care and emergency care are TRICARE covered services. To learn more about RSV, visit the CDC website.
 
Would you like the latest TRICARE news sent to you by email? Visit the TRICARE Subscriptions page today, and create your personalized profile to get benefit updates, news, and more.

This article was updated on Nov. 22, 2022.
Health care provider reviews a notebook

Know the Difference: TRICARE Network Provider vs...

News
Nov. 22, 2022

Are you looking for a new doctor? Finding the right doctor is crucial to your overall health. Regular checkups...
Read More
Two service members stand with two children

Keeping Your DEERS Info Current

News
Nov. 17, 2022

TRICARE Open Season is the time to make changes to your TRICARE health care coverage for the upcoming year...
Read More
Blood Donor Eligibility Update

"Mad Cow" Blood Donor Ban Lifted

News
Nov. 17, 2022

A decades-old blood donor ban was recently lifted by the Food and Drug Administrationmad cow, potentially...
Read More
Staff assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton's OB-GYN clinic display a number of the instruments and devices associated with patient-centered care during the walk-in contraceptive clinic, an essential part of women's health services provided at NHB. The Defense Health Agency recently issued an Administrative Instruction for access to walk-in contraception services across the Military Health System, letting beneficiaries discuss and receive their preferred and medically appropriate care.

Walk-in Contraceptive Services Required at Hospi...

News
Nov. 15, 2022

The Defense Health Agency is expanding walk-in contraceptive care services to improve reproductive health...
Read More
Service member poses with her spouse

TRICARE Open Season is Here: Find Right TRICARE ...

News
Nov. 14, 2022

TRICARE Open Season begins today, Nov. 14. For most TRICARE beneficiaries, this is your chance to enroll in a...
Read More
Service member hugs family

Preview 2023 TRICARE Health Plan Costs

News
Nov. 07, 2022

Every year, TRICARE costs may change based on the law, the federal cost of living adjustment, changes in the...
Read More
A graphic promoting the Nov. 17 TRICARE Webinar

TRICARE to Host Open Season Webinar on November 17

News
Nov. 04, 2022

Don’t miss the “TRICARE Open Season and Your Options” webinar on Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. ET to learn more about this...
Read More
A woman checks her cell phone

Q&A: Learn About Changes to Specialty Drugs Fill...

News
Nov. 01, 2022

Starting Jan. 1, Accredo will be the primary in-network pharmacy to fill specialty drugs in the TRICARE...
Read More

Nov. 22, 2022

Know the Difference: TRICARE Network Provider vs. Non-Network Provider

Are you looking for a new doctor? Finding the right doctor is crucial to your overall health. Regular checkups are one of the best ways to screen for diseases and prevent future health problems. When searching for a doctor, you may come across the term “network provider” or “non-network provider.” Understanding these two provider types matters to you and your family.

Nov. 17, 2022

Keeping Your DEERS Info Current

TRICARE Open Season is the time to make changes to your TRICARE health care coverage for the upcoming year. But is your information still current in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)? If you’re unsure, now is a good time to check.

Nov. 17, 2022

"Mad Cow" Blood Donor Ban Lifted

A decades-old blood donor ban was recently lifted by the Food and Drug Administrationmad cow, potentially increasing the nation's blood supply by hundreds of thousands of donors each year.

Nov. 15, 2022

Walk-in Contraceptive Services Required at Hospitals and Clinics

The Defense Health Agency is expanding walk-in contraceptive care services to improve reproductive health services. These services include same-day access with no appointment or referral needed.

Nov. 14, 2022

TRICARE Open Season is Here: Find Right TRICARE Plan for You

TRICARE Open Season begins today, Nov. 14. For most TRICARE beneficiaries, this is your chance to enroll in a health plan or change health plans for coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2023. You have until Tuesday, Dec. 13, to make those changes.

Nov. 9, 2022

What You Should Know About RSV: Symptoms, Prevention, Care

You may have heard of a virus called respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV. TRICARE encourages you to be familiar with the signs of RSV and see your health care provider if you think you or a family member has RSV.

Nov. 7, 2022

Preview 2023 TRICARE Health Plan Costs

Every year, TRICARE costs may change based on the law, the federal cost of living adjustment, changes in the cost of health care services and prescription drugs, and other factors. Depending on your TRICARE plan, you may see changes to your costs, including enrollment fees, premiums, cost-shares, and copayments next year.

Nov. 4, 2022

TRICARE to Host Open Season Webinar on November 17

Don’t miss the “TRICARE Open Season and Your Options” webinar on Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. ET to learn more about this year’s TRICARE Open Season.

Nov. 1, 2022

Q&A: Learn About Changes to Specialty Drugs Filled in the TRICARE Pharmacy Network

Starting Jan. 1, Accredo will be the primary in-network pharmacy to fill specialty drugs in the TRICARE pharmacy network. If you’re currently filling your specialty drugs at a retail network pharmacy, you can move your specialty drugs to Accredo now to avoid disruptions to your medication therapy.

Oct. 25, 2022

Have Low Back Pain? You May Qualify for TRICARE Demonstration

There are many reasons to go to the doctor, but a very common reason is pain. Chronic pain—pain lasting three or more months—affects thousands of service members and their families every day. One such type of pain is low back pain.

Learn More about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 Vaccine.