Mononucleosis: Are You at Risk?

Mononucleosis, more popularly called “mono”, is a widely prevalent viral disease. More than 90 percent of people who are over the age of 35 have already been infected with it, usually during the early stage of their childhood. It’s so mild that parents think it’s just a common cold or flu. It can be more serious though if it strikes in the later years such as during adolescence or adulthood.

This viral ailment sets on slowly starting with symptoms similar to those of flu such as fever, headache, lethargy, and general malaise. A few days later, the lymph glands will start to swell. The swollen glands in the back of the neck are the most common symptom of mono. Apart from this, people are also likely to develop severe sore throat and inflamed tonsils. A fever not higher than 104 degrees Fahrenheit is also symptom that may last for as long as three weeks.

People who take antibiotic amoxicillin may develop red spots all over the body. About 50 percent of people who have mono experience enlargement of the spleen causing the upper left part of the abdominal area to feel tender. Mono may also affect the liver mildly, causing jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes. Only very rarely does this viral illness cause the liver to fail.

Mono, which is caused by a virus called Epstein-Barr, is more common among people who fit the following descriptions:

People who are between the ages of 10 and 24
People who are in constant close contact with other people such as college students, military people, and nurses

People who have intimate or sexual contact with another who has mono or activated EBV infection

People who share drinking glasses, dishes, toothbrush or utensils with another who is infected with mono or EBV

If you have this viral illness, it’s essential to take on several home care techniques. For one, you need to have plenty of rest and fluids at home. Be sure to drink lots of water to prevent dehydration. You should also take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) if you have fever or pain. To soothe your sore throat, take lozenges or gargle with warm salt water. Avoid any strenuous activity as well as contact sports. If you have an enlarged spleen, vigorous physical activity may cause it to burst. Wait for at least a month for the symptoms to subside or for the spleen to go back to its normal size before you resume your usual activities.

As for medical treatment, corticosteroids are typically prescribed to treat airway obstruction, hepatitis, and other complications linked to this condition. Since it is a viral and not a bacterial infection, your doctor won’t give you any antibiotic as part of the treatment.

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