Mono, short term used for infectious mononucleosis, is a very common viral infection. It is caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in most cases, but can also be caused by other viruses. Basically, it is an infection of young adults and teenagers and it is estimated that about 90% Americans have contracted EBV at some point in their lives and develop antibodies against it, regardless of whether they were symptomatic for mono or not. Mono is not a highly contagious infection and the disease itself is mild and not life threatening. The respite of suffering from this disease is that just like chicken pox; you hardly get it for the second time and become immune to the virus.
Can Mono Be Reversed?
The severity of mono infection can range from mild to quite severe. Once contracted, the mono patient may be symptom less and some may develop symptoms. The disease may run its course and in few weeks or couple of months, the patient may recover. However, once contracted it cannot be reversed; it can only be combated.
Once the virus is in the body, the host body will develop antibodies to fight the infection, which is a slow process as it could take several days to months for a person to recuperate from the infection. Some remain carriers of the infection for life without being symptomatic.
There is no permanent treatment for the mono infection; however, with adequate care, over the counter medications and host defense in play, the infection can be managed. It is important for the patient to give adequate rest to their bodies and avoid strenuous exercises, sports and activities that might worsen their fatigue. Hydration is must and it is necessary to drink lots of fluids and non-caffeinated drinks to avoid dehydration due to fever. Proper food and nutrition are also key factors to recover fast and despite loss of appetite, patients should focus on eating nutritious food with lots of green vegetables and fruits.
Symptoms of mono such as fever, body aches and headaches can be alleviated by taking OTC pain or fever medications. Sometimes, there might be need for corticosteroid therapy to reduce inflammation and severity of disease. However, patients should avoid antibiotics as mono is a viral infection, not a bacterial; unless there is a superimposed bacterial infection such as strep throat. Other thing to keep in mind is to avoid alcohol until complete recovery from the mono infection is achieved. Alcohol might worsen the existing liver inflammation and/or put unnecessary toll on liver, so it is important to refrain from drinking for at least 2 months. Patients start recovering in 3-4 weeks, but fatigue symptoms may still linger for longer duration. However, complete recovery may be achieved in a few months.
What Are The Symptoms Of Mono?
After contracting mono by coming in immediate or intimate contact with the infected or by sharing food, utensils or drinks with the infected; a healthy person develops symptoms slowly in about 4-6 weeks. The symptoms are usually mild and the severity may be different for each individual. The patient may complain of headache, fatigue, body ache along with loss of appetite and lethargy. At other points they may develop fever ranging from 101-104 degree F, which may be accompanied by chills. They may also experience sore throat, which can become severe and sometimes secondarily be infected with bacteria and develop strep throat. There might be swelling in the tonsils as well as neck and armpit lymph nodes. Rash may also accompany along with increased fatigue and enlargement of liver and spleen. The enlargement of spleen is of particular concern as on occasions a blow to the spleen, such as in contact sports or some injury to the abdomen may lead to rupture of the spleen. The above mono symptoms may occur all at once in some patients, in some only few of above symptoms and in others no symptoms at all.
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