Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mononucleosis- a.k.a Kissing Disease

What is mononucleosis?

Mononucleosis, also called "mono," is a common viral illness that can leave you feeling tired and weak for weeks or months. Mono goes away on its own, but lots of rest and good self-care can help you feel better.

What causes mono?

Mono is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It is most often seen in adolescents and young adults. Children can get the virus, but it often goes unnoticed because their symptoms are mild. Adults usually do not get mono, because they have immunity to the virus.

Mono can be spread through contact with saliva, mucus from the nose and throat, and sometimes tears. Because the virus can be spread through kissing, it has earned the nickname the "kissing disease." If you have mono, you can avoid passing the virus to others by not kissing anyone and by not sharing things like glasses, eating utensils, or toothbrushes.

As soon as you get over mono, your symptoms will go away for good, but you will always carry the virus that caused it. The virus may become active from time to time without causing any symptoms. When the virus is active, it can be spread to others.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of mono are a high fever, a severe sore throat, swollen glands and tonsils, and weakness and fatigue. Symptoms usually start 4 to 6 weeks after you are exposed to the virus.

Mono can cause the spleen to swell. Severe pain in the upper left part of your belly may mean that your spleen has burst. This is an emergency.

How is mono diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and examine you. You may also need blood tests to check for signs of mono (monospot test) and the Epstein-Barr virus. Blood tests can also help rule out other causes of your symptoms.

How is it treated?

Usually only self-care is needed for mono.

  • Get plenty of rest. You may need bed rest, which could keep you away from school or work for a little while.
  • Gargle with salt water or use throat lozenges to soothe your sore throat.
  • Take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil) to reduce fever and relieve a sore throat and headaches.
  • Avoid contact sports and heavy lifting. Your spleen may be enlarged, and impact or straining could cause it to burst.

In severe cases, medicines called corticosteroids may be used to reduce swelling of the throat, tonsils, or spleen.

(Courtesy of


amulbunny said...

All those suggestions and more. Be good to yourself. It's a long recovery. You may feel awesome one day and do a little bit too much, and then bang, you're down. I hope Josh is there for you to help you.

Get well!

Theresa's Notes said...

I am so sorry you got this, it sounds so horrible! I hope and pray you get well very soon.

Dilara said...

Sorry to bother you again but you forgot one symptom:
Liver involvement, such as mild liver damage that can cause temporary jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes).

And this is the reason why you should not take any painkillers (including Ibuprofen). Because these guys affect the liver - and if it´s already a little weak that you can get serious problems.

Take care of you!
And happy 4-months-wedding-party! :o)

Stephanie said...

My little sister had it when she was younger and it is rough! Get plenty of rest and take it easy so you get better soon~

Stephanie said...

I sincerely hope you feel better soon. I had Epstein Barr a few years ago, and it was excruciatingly awful. I was sleeping 16+ hours a day and was STILL exhausted in everything I did.

One thing you need to be careful about- your post did include information about spleen swelling. The spleen swelling can last for quite some time, so even after you're feeling better, if you receive a blow to the abdomen (or if you fall, get in a car accident, etc.), you need to get checked out right away because the swelling puts you at greater risk for injury. If anything happens, go to the ER and get checked out, and let the doctors there know that you recently had mono.

Rest, rest, rest and take care of yourself. It's a long recovery.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry that you are ill. I also had Mono as an adult. I also developed Fibromyalgia.
I don't know how you feel about dietary supplements, but I wanted to pass on some information about what helped me.
I took a supplement I obtained through a chiropractor that has a license to practice nutritional medicine.
I do not remember the brand name.
It had malic acid, magnesium and B6 in it.
It really seemed to help relieve the pain so that I could sleep better, and be more active.
I found your blog through Free Jinger.
I have also read you mom's. I am also a Deputy Sheriff's wife and have grown kids and a grandson.

Take care

O's G'ma

Anonymous said...

PS to my comment,
I took the supplement for Fibromyalgia, a year or so after being diagnosed with Mono.

You need a lot of rest now, as you know. I did not want to sound like you should be up running around!!

O's Gma