Mono or infectious mononucleosis is also known by the name kissing disease. It is caused by a virus and this virus can spread through saliva, which means that you can get it by through kissing; hence the name-kissing disease. However, you can also get mono through coughing or sneezing, by sharing utensils with an affected person.
Mononucleosis is not as contagious as other viral diseases like common cold.
How Do You Know If You Have Mono Or Not?
In young people, mono is seen with almost all the signs and symptoms. However, in small children, symptoms are few and mono usually is not recognized. To know if you have mono or not, keep a watch on some of the signs and symptoms which may include-
- A high degree of fatigue
- A throat infection or sore throat, which won’t go away with antibiotics. The sore throat is thought to be a strep infection, mistakenly.
- Swollen or enlarged lymph nodes present in the area of neck and armpits
- Tonsillitis or enlarged/swollen tonsils
- A rash on the skin
- Splenomegaly or a swollen spleen that feels soft
Some signs and symptoms may subside within a week or two, however, other symptoms like swollen lymph nodes and splenomegaly, fatigue etc. may go on for quite a long time.
Causes Of Mono
- The commonest cause of a mono infection is Epstein-Barr virus
- However, other viruses can cause same kind of symptoms
- Though the symptoms are serious, they resolve on their own and do not generally cause any long-term effects
Diagnosis Of Mono
- The doctor will perform a detailed physical examination based on the signs and symptoms that you experience
- Physician will look for swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, fever, swollen spleen or liver and compare them with the symptoms that you describe
- If he suspects you of having a mono infection, physician will ask you to take specific blood tests
- These tests will check you for antibodies to the EBV.
Another blood test may be advised to check for the white blood cells count. An increased number of white blood cells or an abnormality in them might suggest a mono infection, though these may not prove to be confirmatory tests
Complications Of Mono Infection
A mono infection can cause serious complications occasionally. They may include-
- Splenomegaly or an enlarged spleen
- Liver problems like hepatitis, jaundice
- Other complications like tonsillitis, anemia, thrombocytopenia, heart related problems, nervous system complications like meningitis, encephalitis etc. may also be seen in some cases
- Those having an already compromised immune system can face even more serious complications, compared to others.
Treatment Of Mono Infection
There is no specific treatment for a mono infection as it is a viral infection and it cannot be cured. Treatment usually focuses on reducing the symptoms-
- It is advised to take ample rest, even during the day time as people with mono tend to be fatigued.
- Staying hydrated is of paramount importance
- A dehydrated body is slow to heal and may even make symptoms worse than they already are
- To treat the fever, some over the counter medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help. However, it is best to take these medicines on proper advice from a consultant
- Sore throat can also be reduced with the help of some OTC medicines
- If a mono infection is accompanied with another infection like a strep throat, a sinus infection, tonsillitis, these other secondary infections need to be treated with proper medicines like antibiotics and such others.
- Some medicines like penicillin derivatives may cause a rash when given in a mono infection. These are to be used carefully.
To know if you have a mono infection, keep a watch on the symptoms listed above and visit your doctor if you see any of these symptoms developing, to establish a confirmed diagnosis.