Infectious Mononucleosis

Mono (infectious mononucleosis) is a common viral infection that is caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Mono is contagious, and is commonly spread via saliva. This is why it is also known as the "kissing disease." Often, children with the virus may have no symptoms. However, in adults and adolescents, mono may cause an individual to miss days of work or school.

SYMPTOMS

  • No symptoms, for up to a month after being infected.

  • Extreme fatigue.

  • Tiredness (sleeping 12 to 16 hours a day.)

  • Fever.

  • Headaches.

  • Muscle aches.

  • Sore throat.

  • Swollen bumps on the neck that you can feel, and are tender (lymph nodes).

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Nausea.

  • Joint aches.

  • Rash.

  • Feeling of fullness in your stomach.

PREVENTION

  • Avoid contact with infected saliva.

  • Avoid sharing eating utensils.

  • Avoid sharing food.

TREATMENT

Mono has no specific treatment. It is recommended that individuals with the illness rest and drink plenty of fluids. Over-the-counter medicines for fever and sore throat may be taken, if such symptoms are present. Rarely, the infection may cause an abscess (collection of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue) in the tonsils, for which antibiotics will be prescribed. Mono typically causes the liver and spleen to become enlarged. For this reason, you should avoid drinking alcohol, contact sports, heavy lifting, or any strenuous exercise, to reduce the risk of rupturing your spleen, until it returns to normal size. Symptoms typically improve after 1 to 2 weeks, but returning to sports may take a couple months.