Mononucleosis, also known as “mono”, is a common viral infection most frequently seen in adolescents and young adults. Mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It is possible that the young children also get this virus, and if it happens the signs and symptoms of the disease are extremely mild and they usually go away quickly. Mononucleosis is very rare in older adults, because this portion of population usually already has the immunity to the EBV.
Symptoms of the Mononucleosis
Symptoms of the disease may go unnoticed in children, but in adolescents and young adults symptoms are more severe and the patients usually feel extremely tired and weak. The symptoms may last for a couple of weeks or even months.
Patients often experience high fever, sore throat, swollen glands and tonsils. Mononucleosis may sometimes attack a spleen, causing it to swell. Any kind of abdominal pain in the upper left part of the stomach may refer to the inflammation of the spleen, and medical help is immediately required.Mononucleosis will usually go away on its own in a couple of weeks. In a process of treatment, patients should try to get a lot of bed rest and avoid any kind of physical strain. Other means of self-help include gargling with salt water and use of medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce the fever and get the relief from symptoms.
Transmission of mononucleosis
The popular name for mononucleosis is “the kissing disease”. Mononucleosis got this name because it is primarily transmitted trough saliva and mucus. Close contact with the infected person is responsible for spreading of the disease. However, the incubation period for mononucleosis is rather long. It takes 30 to 50 days from the moment of exposure before the symptoms of the disease develop fully.
The other common way to catch this virus is by using the same straw, glass or dish with the infected person. Mononucleosis can’t be transmitted through the air, but being close to the infected person that coughs or sneezes, involves certain risk factors associated with the exchange of mucus. Some people may carry the virus in their body and never show the symptoms of the disease. These people are actually contagious and may pass the virus to others.
For all of these reasons, there is no absolute way to prevent the transmission of the disease. People afflicted with this disease will have the virus in their body for the rest of their lives. However, the contagiousness of the virus lessens over time and soon becomes inactive. As everything else about this disease, the period of contagiousness varies from one person to another. Though, it is very rare, people can get mononucleosis for a second time. It happens mostly in people with compromised immune system.