Mono also called as mononucleosis is a viral infection. It is also known as the kissing disease, because it mostly spreads by coming in contact with body fluids such as saliva. It can also spread by sharing food and utensils of the affected person. It primarily affects adolescents and young adults and people with weak immunity.
Prognosis Of Mono
Mononucleosis has got a very good prognosis as it rarely leads to death. It resolves on its own within a period of 4 weeks. Sometimes it can cause death when there is extreme enlargement of the tonsils that leads to airway obstruction, spleen rupture, hemorrhages or neurological complications along with secondary infections. It is therefore very important to monitor the symptoms for the complete recovery of the patient. The patient is also advised to not immediately start with strenuous activity or exercise until he feels completely well. Regular check-ups and ultrasound are done in high-risk patients till complete recovery is made. People who have recently recovered are advised not to donate blood or organs as it might lead to complications. Post-infective chronic fatigue syndrome might occur in patients who have recovered from infectious mononucleosis and measures should be taken towards complete recovery by boosting the immune system and preventing heavy exercise.
The causative agent of mononucleosis is Epstein-Barr virus that is also known as human herpes virus 4. This virus can remain dormant in a patient without producing any symptoms, but affect a healthy individual. Most people who have been infected with the virus develop antibodies against it and therefore become immune to mono. But even though the symptoms go away they always carry the Epstein-Barr virus in their body in a dormant state. It can become active again without producing symptoms and that is when you can pass it on to a healthy person. It is important to be cautious when you know that you have mono and avoid passing it on to others. It is better to prevent it because once the virus is in your body can never get rid of it. The symptoms experienced by the person affected by virus are headaches, fever (high to low grade), sore throat, excess fatigue along with body aches, enlarged lymph nodes of neck and armpits, enlarged tonsils, rashes and abdominal tenderness due to splenomegaly or hepatomegaly. Since the symptoms appear usually after a month of contracting the virus it is often late to detect the infection. In most people these symptoms go away on their own causing uncomplicated mono. In a few rare cases some will develop severe complications such as chronic fatigue syndrome, neurological disease, splenic rupture, upper respiratory distress/obstruction of airway and a decrease in number of blood cells.
Treatment Of Mono
Since the virus cannot be eliminated completely, the treatment is aimed at resolving the symptoms due to infection. Painkillers are mostly advised to relieve the pain. Corticosteroids are given to treat inflammation of the upper respiratory tract that might lead to airway obstruction or pneumonia. They also relieve symptoms of swelling and itching and redness caused due to rashes. However corticosteroids should not be taken in the long run as they might reduce the resistance of your body to fight infection. Pain relievers such as acetaminophen used to treat body aches and headaches should be taken in proper dosage as it might lead to toxicity. In some cases antiviral drugs such as acyclovir and valacyclovir can be prescribed to ease the symptoms of mono.
It is important to take adequate rest and maintain a healthy lifestyle to overcome the infection. A healthy diet rich in antioxidants and vitamin C should be taken to naturally boost the immune system. The patient should be guided well in order to understand the disease so that he can take preventive measures and avoid any complications that might worsen the prognosis in the long run. Since the infection is not highly contagious and mild in nature, the prognosis of mono is highly favorable without any severe complications.
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