Mononucleosis often referred to as mono, the kissing disease, or glandular fever, is a viral infection commonly caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Although, it can also be caused by the cytomegalovirus. It is most common in people aged 15 to 17 years, although anyone can contract mononucleosis. The most common way to contract the disease is by direct contact with an infected person’s saliva. As the alternative name suggests, kissing is one way to contract the disease, but activities such as sharing food, drinks, lip gloss, toothbrushes and eating utensils can also cause the spread of the virus.
The most common symptoms of mononucleosis are sore throat, swollen glands, fever and extreme fatigue. Other symptoms include muscle soreness, headaches, enlarged liver or spleen, loss of appetite, skin rash, weakness and abdominal pain. Some people who contract mononucleosis will have very severe symptoms whilst others may not even notice that they are unwell. These symptoms usually appear 4 to 7 weeks after contact with the virus.
What is the treatment for mononucleosis?
Due to the fact that mononucleosis is caused by a virus there is no cure for the disease. However, it is common for a person suffering with Mononucleosis to also have a strep throat infection. Strep throat is treatable with antibiotics and may relieve some of the pain associated with a sore throat.
The best treatment for mononucleosis is rest. The symptoms of the disease usually begin to ease within 2 to 4 weeks, but it can take several months to return to pre-disease activity levels. A doctor may recommend the use of acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the fever, muscle aches and other pain associated with the disease. Even once the person has begun to recover from the disease and resume regular activities, it is advised not to participate in sporting activities or rough play that may lead to body contact. This is because the spleen and liver are enlarged by this infection and a blow to the area could cause these organs to rupture resulting in internal bleeding.
It is important to rest and recover fully from mono before getting back into your normal routine. Pushing the body too hard can lead to post-viral syndrome which can last for months and cause ongoing health issues and/or tiredness.
Did you know?
The Epstein-Barr Virus is carried in the body for life. People infected with this virus can transmit it to others through their saliva for months after an infection. This virus is also thought to be responsible for other illnesses.