Infectious mononucleosis (MONO)

The kissing disease” is an infection causes fever, sore throat, fatigue, and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. It most commonly occurs in adolescents and young adults. Although not generally considered a serious illness, mononucleosis can lead to time loss from school or work due to severe fatigue.

How did I get mono?

Mono is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which can spread from person to person through contact with saliva. You should avoid kissing or sharing of eating utensils or drinking glasses with a person who is sick with mono.

EBV infection most commonly occurs in young children, although most are not ill when they develop mono. Symptomatic infection is much more common in teenagers and young adults.

What are the symptoms?

Body aches, headache, low-grade fever four to eight weeks after exposure. The most common mono symptoms include:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever occasionaly more than 38ºc
  • Enlarged glands in the neck
  • Fatigue occasionally last for months

Young children and older adults may have only a sore throat and muscle aches

Enlargement of the spleen —it enlarged in about half of people with mono. If the spleen becomes enlarged, some doctors recommend avoiding sports activities or heavy lifting for a few weeks. This advice is given to avoid the rare complication of splenic rupture, which is a life-threatening complication occurring after trauma.

How is mono diagnosed?

Based on person’s symptoms and physical examination, the diagnosis can be suspected and can be confirmed by a blood work. The blood test can be sometimes falsely negative during the first weeks of symptoms.

What is the treatment?

The treatment is only directed to patient’s symptoms. Antibiotics are not helpful because mono is viral infection and there is no medication to cure the virus.

Pain and fever: Tylenol or Motrin, (Advil). Aspirin should not be given to young children with any viral infection.

Rest: adequate rest, although complete bed rest is not necessary.

Diet: drink an adequate amount of fluids especially if you are dehydrated.

When can I return to work or school?

Half of people with mono develop an enlarged spleen, which can last for a few months. Although you can return to school or work when you are feeling better, it’s important to avoid activities that can cause injury to the spleen. Athletes shouldn’t participate in sports activities for at least the first three to four weeks of the illness. Your doctor should be able to tell you when it is safe for you to resume your activities.

When will I feel better?

Most people who suffer with mono recover completely without any long-term complications. Symptoms usually begin to improve within one to two weeks

A few percentages may feel fatigued for few months