Infectious mononucleosis (mono), also known as glandular fever, is often referred to as the 'kissing disease'. The virus that causes this, known as the Epstein-Barr virus, is transmitted through contact with saliva, which is why it is so popular as the disease that can be contracted by kissing. The causes also include exposure to a cough or a sneeze, the sharing of a glass, silverware, such as spoons and forks, and even toothbrushes, with someone who already suffers from mononucleosis.
However, as dangerous as it has been made to sound, it isn't as infectious as other contagious diseases. In any case, it is still contagious, and certain measures must be taken to prevent it from spreading. Here we talk about how long mono lasts, its signs and symptoms, and the treatment usually given to treat this condition.
Mono is a condition that requires you to take as much rest as possible. This condition will last only until the time you give your body enough time to rest and recover. In children, the symptoms may last for about 3-4 weeks, which will mean them having to miss school and other activities. Usually, adults rarely contract it, because most of them have suffered from this condition as children, after which their bodies become immune to this virus. However, there may be cases where adults also face this problem. It definitely lasts longer in adults. There have been instances, where it may last for almost 2-3 months. Very rarely will it last for over four months.
Symptoms and Signs
The signs and symptoms of this disease are more evident in adolescents and younger adults. Though young children show the symptoms of this condition, they are milder, and often, the infection is not detected. The signs and symptoms of mononucleosis may include:
- Night sweats
- Fatigue and weakness
- Swollen tonsils
- Skin rash
- Sore or Strep throat
- Loss of appetite
- Tender, swollen spleen along with stomach ache
- Swollen lymph nodes in neck, armpits, and groin
This is usually diagnosed after conducting certain blood tests, namely, the Monospot Test followed by the Epstein-Barr virus antibody test. There are chances that the former can prove the absence of the virus in the earlier stages, and may therefore not be completely reliable. You may also have to have your complete blood count checked, to diagnose any related problems. There is no definite or specific way by which it can be diagnosed. However, after the medical history and conducting a physical examination, blood tests and confirming exposure to the virus, and checking the combined results of all these tests, it is diagnosed.
There is also no specific treatment, except complete rest, in order to recover the enlarged spleen. Avoid lifting heavy weights, or any other vigorous activities to prevent your spleen from rupturing, that can cause severe bleeding and further complications. Drinking lots of fluids, mainly water, will prevent the body from dehydration. Your doctor may also prescribe some pain killers to reduce the pain associated with the symptoms. Avoid giving aspirin to children, as it can prove dangerous. Follow the treatment methods prescribed by your doctor, and do not resort to self-treatment, as it may lead to complications.
This disease is most contagious 2 weeks into, and up to 6 months of the disease. Though the virus remains in the body for up to 18 months, it is not contagious for that long. To prevent the spread of this disease, you must avoid kissing anyone, and sharing your plate, fork, spoon, water bottle, etc. with anyone else.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.