Mononucleosis

Sick Child

Mononucleosis is a common illness that is often referred to as “mono”. Teens and young adults are more likely to contract the disease than other age demographics. However, it is possible for children to contract the disease but the symptoms will be much milder causing everyone to overlook the presence of the virus. As we age, our body builds immunity towards the virus which is why older people usually do not contract the disease. Infected individuals will usually feel extremely tired and overwhelmingly weak. Although we may all feel this way from time to time, the symptoms in an affected individual will usually persist for a few weeks or even months.

Causes

Mono is most commonly caused by a virus called the Epstein-Barr virus. This virus is spread through the saliva by activities such as kissing or sharing eating utensils. The virus is so common that most people have been infected by it before they turn forty. However, in most cases it does not cause any illness. It is still possible for individuals to contract mono or even cancer from the virus. Some other ways that the virus can be spread is through tears and mucus from the nose. However, these are less common ways for the virus to spread.

When you overcome the symptoms of mono, the symptoms themselves will disappear. However, the virus will permanently remain in your system. The virus will likely flare up at isolated points in your lifetime however, you will not see any of the previous symptoms and may not even realize that the virus is active.  It is possible to spread the virus to others when this happens.

Signs

One of the most common signs of mono is an overwhelming feeling of fatigue and weakness. The symptom can be differentiated from the daily stresses of life when it persists for a couple of weeks or a couple of months.  Infected individuals will commonly experience swollen tonsils or lymph nodes in the armpits and throat.

In some cases, the individual may also experience an extremely sore throat which can progress to strep throat. However, the individual can differentiate mono from strep throat in this case because the soreness experienced in the throat will not disappear or improve with the use of antibiotics.

Some of the less serious symptoms also include headache, rash on the skin and a fever.

If the infected individual experiences a sore throat or fever the symptoms will usually improve in just a couple of weeks. However, the swollen lymph nodes will likely take longer to improve.

Cures

In many cases, the symptoms of mono will usually improve without the help of medications such as antibiotics. In some cases, bed rest may be the most important cure which could cause lost time at work or school.  It is also important for the infected individual to consume plenty of water to remain hydrated and help flush the virus out of the system.  Lozenges can also be very beneficial to help alleviate the sore throat. Certain antibiotics such as Amoxicillin and Penicillin have not been prescribed to ease the symptoms of mono because they tend to make the symptoms worse and cause rashes throughout the body.

In some cases, medications may be required to cure some of the symptoms of other diseases and infections that occurred as a result of or in tandem with the mono. One example of this is when antibiotics are prescribed for strep throat that was contracted at the same time as the mono.