What is Mononucleosis?
Mononucleosis is an infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.
What are the symptoms of mononucleosis?
Symptoms of mononucleosis include:
- Sore throat.
- Swollen glands in the neck and armpits.
- Loss of appetite.
- Night sweats.
In general, symptoms in children are mild, while symptoms in adolescents and young adults tend to be more severe.
How do people get mononucleosis?
Mono is not spread as easily as other viruses like the common cold. The mono virus is found in saliva and mucus. They usually spread from person to person through kissing, that is why it is often called the kissing disease. However, mono can also be transmitted through exposure to coughing, sneezing, or sharing eating utensils (such as cups, spoons and forks) with someone who has mononucleosis. The signs of mononucleosis, usually develop 4 to 6 weeks after you have been exposed to the virus. Generally, people have mono only once. It is more common among people between 15 and 35 years of age.
How is mono diagnosed?
Chances are that your doctor will first ask you some questions about your symptoms and then you do blood tests to confirm the diagnosis. A common test used to diagnose mono is called quick test mono. Sometimes you need other blood tests if the results of the rapid test for mononucleosis are not clear.
Can mono be cured?
No, there is no cure for mononucleosis. But the virus will disappear by itself. Symptoms usually lasts about 4 weeks.
How is mono treated?
The primary goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms. The following list includes tips on treatment:
- Relax. Sleep helps the body fight infection.
- Drink plenty of fluids. They help prevent dehydration.
- If you have a sore throat, gargle with salt water or suck on throat lozenges, hard candy or flavored frozen desserts (such as Popsicles).
- You may want to take acetaminophen (one brand: Tylenol) or ibuprofen (some brands: Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) to relieve pain and fever. Do not give aspirin to children. Aspirin should be avoided because it has been associated with a disease called Reye syndrome in children. Reye syndrome is a serious disease that can cause death.