Common health issue

What is Mononucleosis/Kissing disease? What Are The Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


What Is Infectious Mononucleosis(mono/kissing disease)?

Mononucleosis(mono) is a contagious infection usually caused by a herpes virus called Epstein-Barr. Other viruses can also cause mononucleosis. The condition is most common among teenagers and young adults—people with mono experience extreme fatigue, lethargy, fever, and body aches.

Once you have an Epstein- Barr Virus, you will not likely get another one. Children who get this virus will probably be immune to mono for the rest of their lives. Treatments can ease symptoms until the mono goes away on its own.

What Causes Mononucleosis?

The Epstein-Barr Virus usually causes it. Other viruses and certain infections may also bring this illness. The viruses include:

  • Adenovirus
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • rubella

You can be exposed to the virus by coughing or sneezing, kissing, or sharing food or drinks with someone who has mono. In adolescents and adults, the infection sometimes does not have noticeable symptoms. The virus typically causes no symptoms in children, and the condition often goes unrecognized.

Mono Incubation period

The incubation period of the virus is when you get in contact with the infection and start to have symptoms. It usually lasts for four to 6 weeks. The signs and symptoms of mono typically last for 1 to 2 months.

The incubation period may be shorter in younger children. Some symptoms like sore throat and fever typically lessen after 1 to 2 weeks. Other symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, and enlarged spleen may last longer weeks.

What Are The Symptoms Of Mononucleosis?

Symptoms of mononucleosis vary, and this can be mild or severe. They tend to appear gradually. If you get sick with mono, it will probably occur within 4 to 6 weeks after you come in contact with EBV.

These symptoms may last for four weeks or longer:

  • Enlarged spleen or liver
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Rashes of the skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches or weakness
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin.

How Is Mononucleosis Treated?

There is not any specific treatment for infectious mono. However, your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid medication to reduce throat and tonsil swelling. Also, there is no vaccine for the cure of mono. Instead, treatments focus on helping you feel better by relieving symptoms. Your care might include the following points:

1) Rest

Mono makes you very tired, so, Sleep helps your body fight against infections.

2) Hydration

Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

3) pain relievers

Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) ease fever, inflammation, headaches, and muscle pain. These drug include ibuprofen  and naproxen.

4) Sore Throat Soothers

You can gargle with salt and water and use the throat lozenges.

5) Avoiding Sports

Physical activity can put too much pressure on an enlarged spleen, increasing the risk of rupture that might be painful. You should avoid contact with sports and strenuous exercise while you are sick and for up to 4 weeks afterward.

You may take over-the-counter pain relievers to treat a fever or sore throat.

What Can Be The Medications?

i) Treating secondary infection and other complications:

A streptococcal infection often goes along with the sore throat of mononucleosis. You may develop a sinus infection or an infection of your tonsils that is termed tonsillitis. You may need treatment and antibiotics for these accompanying bacterial infections. Severe narrowing of your airway may be treated with corticosteroid.

ii) Risk of rash with some medications:

Amoxicillin and other antibiotics, including those made from penicillin, are not recommended for people with mono. Some people with mono who take one of these drugs may develop a rash. The rash does not necessarily mean they are allergic to the prescribed antibiotics. However, if needed, other antibiotics that are less likely to cause rashes are available to treat an infection that may go along with the mono.

How Can I Prevent Mononucleosis(mono)?

There is no vaccine for mono. The best way to prevent getting the viruses that cause mono is by practicing good personal hygiene. Do not share food, drinks, or body fluids with someone who has mono or any signs of viral illness, including fever, cough, sore throat, or fatigue.

If you are infected, you can help prevent spreading the virus to others by not kissing them and even by not sharing the dishes, glasses, and utensils until several days after your fever has improved- and even longer, if possible. And remember to wash your hand frequently to prevent the spread of the virus. The Epstein-Barr Virus may persist in your saliva for months after the infection. No vaccine exists to prevent mono.