Viruses, which are disease inducing pathogens, cause a myriad of infections and diseases. One such health disorder is the infectious mononucleosis, or simply mono. This infection, which is also known as 'the kissing disease' or glandular fever is caused due to the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV). This virus belongs to the herpes virus family which is known to cause infections like sore throat, common cold etc. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) can also be one of the causative factors of mono. Individuals who have a weak immune system are easily susceptible to this viral infection.
The incubation period of the Epstein Bart virus is about 5 to 7 weeks. Due to the presence of EBV infection, the white blood cells, or leukocytes, in the body increase. Mononucleosis is mainly transmitted from an infected person to a healthy one through kissing, sharing of food or utensils, exposure to the virus in the air etc. But this virus does not spread as quickly as the common cold virus. Though this viral infection is commonly seen in individuals who are aged between 14 to 17, it can also affect a person of any age group.
Early Symptoms of Mononucleosis
As mentioned earlier, the incubation period of the mononucleosis virus is up to seven weeks. The infection can last for about four weeks after the incubation period and the early signs of mono persist for about 3 weeks.
- One of the initial symptoms of mono is strep throat, also known as sore throat, which does not get cured in spite of taking remedies. The individual may also experience stuffy or runny nose.
- Occurrence of skin rashes, which may be pinkish in color
- Glandular fever is characterized by symptoms like generalized body weakness, fatigue, body pain etc. The fever, accompanied by chills, usually ranges from mild to high, and persists for more than a week.
- Persistent headache and watery eyes
- Loss of appetite and nausea
- Feeling drowsy all the time
- Stiffness and pain in the muscles due to the presence of this viral infection
- Enlarged lymph nodes, especially in the neck
- Swelling and infection in the tonsils, also known as tonsillitis
- Enlarged spleen, causing bloating sensation and a sore feeling in the abdomen
- Excessive sweating, particularly during the night
- In severe cases, symptoms like jaundice, rapid heart rate, chest pain and shortness of breath can be observed.
For the exact diagnosis, an individual may have to undergo a physical exam and blood tests. The doctor may also check for signs of swollen lymph nodes, tonsillitis etc. It is very essential to treat mono in its early stages to avoid complications. In case of delayed treatment, complications like hepatitis, inflammation in the muscles of the heart, obstructed breathing due to swollen tonsils and meningitis etc. can occur. Hence, undergoing timely treatment is advisable to prevent these complications and to cure the infection completely.
- In case of a sore throat, gargling with a solution of warm water and salt will prove helpful to reduce the infection and pain caused due to it.
- Inhalers and decongestants can be used to clear a blocked nose.
- The doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the symptoms of viral infection.
- Corticosteroids may also be prescribed to reduce the swelling in the organs. Apart from these medicinal remedies, eat a healthy and a balance diet to strengthen the immune system.
If you experience any of the early indicants of mono, it is essential that you take ample rest and drink lots of fluids. Also visit the doctor who may prescribe antibiotics to fight against the infection. Take care!