Back to Top Skip to main content

‘Kissing disease’ exhausting, but it strikes only once

Mononucleosis is nicknamed the “kissing disease” because it’s spread through saliva. U.S. Navy Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Michael Zegarra shares the traditional first kiss with his wife Caterina Zegarra, after the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz pulled into port at Naval Base Kitsap, Washington, Dec. 10, 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Greg Hall) Mononucleosis is nicknamed the “kissing disease” because it’s spread through saliva. Navy Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Michael Zegarra shares the traditional first kiss with his wife Caterina Zegarra, after the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz pulled into port at Naval Base Kitsap, Washington, Dec. 10, 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Greg Hall)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Preventive Health | Public Health

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Tremendous fatigue, a very sore throat and achy body – Cheryl vividly recalls how bad she felt after coming down with infectious mononucleosis, commonly called mono, during her sophomore year at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

“I felt really dizzy, but it wasn’t just my head,” said Cheryl, whose last name isn’t being used to respect her privacy. “It was like my whole body was twirling around inside.”

Mono is a contagious disease caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, or EBV. Spread through saliva, mono’s nickname is the “kissing disease.” But transmission of the virus isn’t limited to kissing; people can become infected by using someone else’s utensils or drinking from the same container, as Cheryl believes happened to her. She shared a cup with another member of the West Point orienteering team who later was diagnosed with mono ahead of Cheryl.

Teenagers and young adults are more likely than others to get mono. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 25 percent of people in this age range who are exposed to EBV will develop mono.

“Over 90 percent of adults will have antibodies to mono – meaning, at some point in their lives they’ve been exposed,” said Dr. Jason Okulicz, an Air Force lieutenant colonel and chief of the Infectious Disease Service at San Antonio Military Medical Center in Texas.

“It’s also possible to not have any symptoms, though that’s more likely for young children,” he said.

Symptoms can occur anywhere from four to six weeks after being infected, according to the CDC. Along with what Cheryl experienced, they can include swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, a fever, and a rash.

As bad as patients might feel, mono is a self-limiting illness for the vast majority, Okulicz said. That means it resolves on its own, usually over several weeks.

“The fatigue might linger for a few weeks after that, but long-term effects on a person’s overall health are uncommon,” he said.

Another good thing about mono? It’s a one-and-done event. “With the flu, there are many different types and you can get infected numerous times over your lifetime,” Okulicz said. “But infectious mononucleosis doesn’t recur.”

One possible complication of mono is an enlarged spleen that can rupture when performing strenuous exercises or engaging in contact sports. That’s why, even though an enlarged spleen is rare, doctors recommend people with mono avoid these activities at least three or four weeks after illness, Okulicz said. Any mono patient experiencing abdominal pain should seek help immediately, he added.

Otherwise, Okulicz said, there’s not much to do for mono except offer supportive care: lozenges for a sore throat; over-the-counter medications for pain and fever; plenty of fluids to stay hydrated; and, of course, rest.

Cheryl spent a week in Keller Army Community Hospital recuperating. Classmates delivered her books and assignments so she could keep up with her schoolwork. She said she felt better by the time she was discharged, but it took several weeks before the fatigue went away.

“I didn’t realize how long it would take to feel like myself again,” she said.

You also may be interested in...

Airmen perform in-flight Transportation Isolation System training

Article
3/14/2019
A C-17 Globemaster III is prepped to transport a Transportation Isolation System during a training exercise that allows Airmen to practice the most effective and safest form of transportation for patients and their medical professionals. Engineered and implemented after the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014, the TIS is an enclosure the Defense Department can use to safely transport patients with highly contagious diseases. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Miller)

This mission capability is the only one of its kind in the Department of Defense

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Technology

DHA IPM 19-003: Reserve Health Readiness Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (c), and in accordance with the guidance of References (d) through (i): • Provides utilization guidance and funding requirements for the RHRP contract to supplement Reserve Component Individual Medical Readiness (IMR) and Deployment Health activities when Service organic health readiness resources are not available to meet mission requirements. • Provides utilization guidance and funding requirements for the RHRP contract for Active Duty enrolled in TRICARE Prime Remote, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), USCG Reserves, and re-deploying DoD civilians (e.g., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command). • Communicate procedure guidance to all DoD organizations utilizing RHRP services. • Will expire effective 12 months from the date of issue and be converted to a DHA-Procedural Instruction.

  • Identification #: 19-003
  • Date: 3/8/2019
  • Type: DHA Interim Procedures Memorandum
  • Topics: Health Readiness

Sudden cardiac death in young athletes

Article
3/7/2019
High school basketball requires skill and rigorous training. In rare but highly publicized cases, it can also bring cardiac issues to the surface. (U.S. Army photo by Chuck Gannon)

Sudden cardiac events can occur in seemingly healthy young people in their teens or twenties, including young servicemembers

Recommended Content:

Conditions and Treatments | Health Readiness | Heart Health | Preventive Health

Military health leaders take part in inaugural American Red Cross Advanced Life Support class

Article
3/4/2019
“It was important to me to have firsthand knowledge of the American Red Cross curriculum we’ll be rolling out to the rest of the MHS,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Sharon Bannister, Deputy Assistant Director for Education and Training. Bannister said being able to train and test alongside students in their third year of medical school was one of the best parts of the day. (MHS photo)

The transition to the American Red Cross Resuscitation Suite officially began October 1, 2018

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Adenovirus

Infographic
3/1/2019
Adenovirus

During August–September 2016, U.S. Naval Academy clinical staff noted an increase in students presenting with acute respiratory illness (ARI). An investigation was conducted to determine the extent and cause of the outbreak.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Malaria

Infographic
3/1/2019
Malaria

Since 1999, the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report has published regular updates on the incidence of malaria among U.S. service members. The MSMR’s focus on malaria reflects both historical lessons learned about this mosquito-borne disease and the continuing threat that it poses to military operations and service members’ health.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Glaucoma

Infographic
3/1/2019
Glaucoma

This report describes an analysis using the Defense Medical Surveillance System to identify all active component service members with an incident diagnosis of glaucoma during the period between 2013 and 2017.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 26 No. 3 - March 2019

Report
3/1/2019

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000–2017; Cardiovascular disease-related medical evacuations, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 1 October 2001– 31 December 2017; Acute flaccid myelitis: Case report; Historical perspective: Leptospirosis outbreaks affecting military forces

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

Air Force units partner for aeromedical evacuation exercise

Article
2/27/2019
Airmen from the 384th Air Refueling Squadron and 18th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron pause after completing set-up and loading of a KC-135 Stratotanker for a AE exercise near Kadena Air Base, Japan. While pilots are in charge of flying a KC-135, refueling boom operators are in charge of the rest of the aircraft, which can be fitted for cargo, passenger transport or medical support. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

With a critical care mission spanning half the globe, practicing is vital to patient survivability

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

The eyes have it: Seven tips for maintaining vision

Article
2/25/2019
Army Reserve Spc. Brianne Coots performs an exam during a readiness training event in 2018 at Kea’au, Hawaii. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Stephanie Ramirez)

Most eye injuries are preventable, experts say

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Vision Loss

Military health care transitions to new life support training provider

Article
2/20/2019
Navy Chief Petty Officer Wendy Wright, a hospital corpsman chief assigned to Expeditionary Medical Facility Great Lakes in Illinois, performs ventilation techniques on a practice mannequin while participating in a life support simulation in Savannah, Georgia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Caila Arahood)

American Red Cross courses better suited to military needs

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Emergency Preparedness and Response

Taking care of your heart with TRICARE benefits

Article
2/19/2019
February is nationally recognized as American Heart Month, a time for the Department of Defense community to show its love for healthy living.

Getting preventive screenings now could save your life tomorrow

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Preventive Health

The simple – and complicated – task of shoveling snow

Article
2/5/2019
Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Seifridsberger shovels knee-deep snow to build a simulated hasty firing position during training exercise Ready Force Breach at Fort Drum, New York. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Andrew Carroll)

When in the throes of winter weather, there are ways to prepare for a successful, injury-free snow shoveling activity

Recommended Content:

Winter Safety | Reserve Health Readiness Program | Health Readiness | Physical Activity

Stroke prevention awareness

Article
2/4/2019
Stroke prevention awareness graphic (U.S. Air Force graphic)

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health

MSMR Vol. 26 No. 2 - February 2019

Report
2/1/2019

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000–2017; Cardiovascular disease-related medical evacuations, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 1 October 2001– 31 December 2017; Acute flaccid myelitis: Case report; Historical perspective: Leptospirosis outbreaks affecting military forces

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health
<< < ... 6 7 8 9 10  ... > >> 
Showing results 76 - 90 Page 6 of 44

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.