With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s a good time to discuss infectious mononucleosis, often called “mono” or “the kissing disease.”
This contagious disease is usually caused by the Epstein-barr virus. It is spread through saliva which means you can get it through kissing, hence the nickname. You can also be exposed to the virus through a cough or sneeze, or by sharing drinks, food, or personal items with someone who has mono.
Infectious mononucleosis is most prevalent in teens, young adults, and college students. Most adults have been exposed to the Epstein-barr virus at some point in their life and have built up antibodies. This makes them immune to mono.
Symptoms of mono develop slowly, appearing about 4 to 8 weeks after you’re infected. Mono is difficult to differentiate from other common viruses, such as the flu.
- extreme fatigue
- sore throat
- head and body aches
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits
- swollen liver or spleen or both
If you or your child experiences any of the above symptoms for longer than a week, head into our clinic. Symptoms may not all occur at the same time.
Our medical team will perform a physical exam, review your symptoms, and look for signs such as swollen lymph nodes, tonsils, liver or spleen. A provider can typically diagnose infectious mononucleosis based on symptoms, but if additional confirmation is needed, he or she may request blood tests, such as antibody tests or white blood cell count.
If your symptoms are indeed due to Mono, we can outline an appropriate treatment plan to help you feel better sooner. Most cases of mono are mild and will resolve on their own within 1-2 months. Drinking fluids to stay hydrated, getting plenty of rest, and taking over-the-counter medications for pain and fever can help ease symptoms.