INFECTIOUS MONONUCLEOSIS

INFECTIOUS MONONUCLEOSIS

Infectious mononucleosis or mono, in short, is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) which is transmitted through saliva and is sometimes called the kissing disease. It can occur to any age but usually found in teenagers and young adults.

You can get infectious mononucleosis mostly in kissing. However, it can also be transmitted through sneezing or coughing and shared utensils.

Many people develop Epstein-Barr virus after the age of one. Very young children develop few symptoms or none so that the infection often goes unrecognized as infectious mononucleosis.

If you have been infected with mononucleosis, you won’t get the EBV infection in the future as anyone will be immune to mononucleosis in the future.

Once you have mononucleosis, it is essential to have plenty of rest and sufficient fluids as it is the key to recovery.

SYMPTOMS

Usually, people who get EBV develop a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, and a high fever.

Signs and symptoms of mononucleosis may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • High fever
  • Swollen lymph glands in your neck and armpits
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Rash of purple or pink spots in your mouth or skin
  • Swollen spleen
  • Night sweats

Usually, even though your liver or spleen will swell, infectious mononucleosis is rarely life-threatening. Symptoms like sore throat and fever typically improved within a few weeks, however, fatigue, and swollen spleen and lymph glands may last for a couple of weeks longer.

The majority of the infectious mononucleosis cases are mild and can be resolved quickly with conventional treatment such as adequate fluids, a healthy diet and plenty of rest, but, if your symptoms don’t improve within 1 to 2 months, consult your doctor.

DIAGNOSIS

  • Physical exam

Your doctor can suspect EBV infection with a physical examination, on your signs and symptoms and how long they lasted. Your doctor will look for signs and symptoms that are related to mononucleosis.

  • Blood tests

Your doctor might make you undergo some blood testing to evaluate if you have the infection.

  • Antibody tests.

If an additional confirmation is needed, you may undergo a mono spot test. This test will check your blood if you have the antibodies to the EBV. This test gives quick results. However, the downside is that it cannot detect the mononucleosis infection during the first week of illness. An additional antibody test might be needed, and this is called the EBV antibody test. This blood test looks for specific infectious mononucleosis antibodies. It can detect the illness even if it is in the first week of the illness, but it takes longer to get the results.

  • White blood cell count

You may also undergo other tests to confirm the possibility if you have the EBV infection. This test will look for abnormal-looking lymphocytes or a high number of lymphocytes.

TREATMENT

As there is no specific treatment for infectious mononucleosis, home remedies, and over-the-counter medications to reduce fever and pain relievers will help you to ease your symptoms.

Some home remedies that will ease your symptoms are:

  • Plenty of rest
  • Taking adequate fluids and staying hydrated
  • Boosting your immune system with a healthy diet
  • Using OTC pain medications

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