What is Mononucleosis
Mono is a common illness, especially in young adults. It is caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus and it's a member of the herpesvirus family.
Most people have been exposed to the virus sometime in their life and have developed an immunity to the infection.
How is it spread
It is spread by person to person contact. Saliva being the most common method. Thats one of the reasons they called it the "kissing disease.' Coughing,sneezing, inhaling mucous in the air are typical ways of getting infected.
Note, most people exposed to EBV will never develop the mononucleosis.
The incubation period which is the initial infection until symptoms occur is 4-6 weeks. Since healthy people without symptoms also secrete the virus at different reactivation periods, isolation of the person with mono isnt necessary.
What are the symptoms?
Having a sore throat can really be a symptom of many conditions, and many people wonder if their own sore throat can be more serious than the common cold. Mononucleosis and Strept throat are examples of two conditions that are more serious than the common cold and can cause an severe sore throat.
The initial symptoms of mono are:
...a general lack of energy, fatigue or malaise.
...loss of appetite
These initial symptoms can last for days before the more intense symptoms of the illness occur. The more common intense symptoms include:
...severe sore throat
...swollen lymph nodes in the neck area
...very reddened throat and tonsils
...Tonsils have a whitish coating in 1/3 of cases.
The spleen, sometimes referred to as the bodies biggest lymph node is located under the rib cage in the left upper abdominal area. In some cases this can become inflamed and cause discomfort.
Other rare signs of mono could be an enlarged liver or a splotchy red raise looking similiar to measles.
What is the usual course of treatment?
In most cases of mono no specific treatment is necessary. The illness is usually self limited and passes much the way other viruses resolve. Treatment is directed toward the relief of symptoms.
...Antiviral medications: They have relatively no effect on mono and in some cases can prolong the illness.
...Strept throat is common with mono and should be treated with Erythromycins.
...Ampicillin and Amoxocillin should be avoided because they will help cause a rash in 95% of the patients who take them.
...Tylenol for fever and any aching of the body or
...A sufficient amount of sleep and rest is
Mononucleosis is usually self limited, although sometimes prolonged, and often uncomfortable illness. While specific treatment is rarely necessary, the potential complications make it essential that people with this illness be under the care of a physician.
Although rare, EBV has been associated with certain cancers, especially lymphomas. This should be monitored in people with whose immune system has been compromised due to disease or immune suppressive drugs. It has also been associated with one type of Hodgkins disease.