Infectious mononucleosis is a viral infection similar to common cold, which is commonly termed as mono. The virus that causes this infection is Epstein-Barr virus, which belongs to herpes family of viruses and is also known by the name herpes virus 4. It is usually transmitted by saliva leading to infectious mononucleosis, hence, the name “kissing disease”. This disease is most prevalent in teenagers and young adults.
How To Cope With Mono?
The coping with mono becomes easy once you know you are suffering from it. A person should visit their general practitioner, if they suspect mono, so that other infections can be ruled out. The diagnosis is made based on the symptoms and on occasions blood work may be needed to confirm the diagnoses when symptoms are not typical of mono.
Since it is a viral disease, antibiotics are not prescribed for its management. There is no specific cure for the disease, but it can be managed with over the counter medications and home care measures. The basic home care measure is to take proper nutrition with lots of vegetables and fruits. Proper diet maintains energy levels and reduces inflammation and load on the immune system. Sugars, dairy, gluten and allergens should be avoided for better coping. It is also important to avoid exposure to any other infection or to get rid of any existing infections that may take a toll on the immune system and may further delay the recovery from mono.
Fatigue is the most common and debilitating symptom of mono. It is really important to take adequate amount of sleep and rest the body without causing any further exhaustion. Minimum 8 hours of sleep per day is must to combat fatigue and more rest if needed. The disease causes excessive sleepiness and that is okay to rest the body and let the immune system fight the infection. Despite loss of diet, proper nutrition should be taken at regular intervals for better coping. Preventing exhaustive exercises, contact sports and strenuous activities is important to recuperate. Mild activities such as walking or swimming can be done that do not lead to fatigue.
For better coping, hydration is must and especially when one is suffering from fever. Plenty of water and non-caffeinated drinks and fluids replenish the body and prevent dehydration. Alcohol should be avoided for at least 6-8 weeks after the symptoms develop as it may worsen or initiate liver inflammation.
Other symptoms such as fever, body ache and headache can be managed with over the counter medications (ibuprofen and naproxen). Paracetamol should be avoided in fear of liver inflammation and injury. It is also advised to avoid aspirin. Steroids can be given for inflammation to reduce the severity and course of infection; however, prolonged use of steroids should be avoided as it may weaken the immunity and hinder complete and early recuperation.
Patient should avoid intimate contact such as kissing, sharing of drinks and utensils or sharing of toothbrushes, until the symptoms subside completely or even several weeks after that to avoid transmission to healthy individuals. With time and proper care, the immune system will help combat the infection and one can get back to normal daily activities.
Most of the symptoms of mono resemble that of other infections such as Strep throat, what defines the disease is the severe fatigue related to it in majority of the patients. Mono is not a highly contagious disease and even if contracted, the patient may remain symptom less. The virus may even stay dormant in the body for years and may be reactivated in cases of weakened immunity, due to certain stressors or when conditions for it are favorable. In addition to extreme fatigue being the primary symptom, the patient may also experience body ache, headache, muscle weakness, pain in the upper left quadrant of the abdomen (the location of spleen), sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes of the neck, swollen tonsils, fever, rashes, splenomegaly and hepatomegaly.
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- Does Mono Affect Your Liver?
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