Commonly known as the “Kissing Disease”, mononucleosis, or mono, is an infectious illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus and its symptoms are most severe in adolescents and young adults.
Mono is transmitted via saliva and mucus so it can be spread through kissing, sharing food, drink or utensils with someone who is infected, or through a cough or sneeze. The most common treatment for mono consists of bed rest, drinking plenty of fluids and good nutrition.
Antibiotics do not effectively treat viral infections like mono. Occasionally, mono is discovered when penicillin antibiotics like amoxicillin are used, thinking the patient has strep throat, and the patient breaks out into a rash.
The effects of mono can last for several weeks, with some of the most common symptoms being:
For those who have mono, fever may last up to 14 days, with the intensity decreasing during the last five to seven days.
Patients often experience symptoms similar to strep throat, with throat soreness and white spots appearing on the tonsils.
A sore throat associated with mono will be worst during the first three to five days and should gradually improve after that.
Fatigue is usually the most lingering symptom of mono, often lasting for several weeks and, in some cases, months. Those suffering from fatigue related to mono should be sure to get plenty of rest and avoid pushing themselves.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
Often referred to as “swollen glands”, swollen lymph nodes are common symptoms of mono and can last for up to four weeks.
An enlarged spleen as a result of mono is common and should be kept in mind to avoid injury. Those with mono should avoid heavy lifting and any unnecessary physical exertion (including contact sports) for several weeks, or until cleared by a physician.
When to See a Doctor
In most cases, mono does not require treatment beyond rest, increased fluid intake and proper nutrition. People with mono who are experiencing severe pain in the upper left part of their abdomen should seek immediate medical care. This could be a sign that your spleen has ruptured and, while a spleen rupture caused by mono is rare, the possibility should not be taken lightly.
Those with mono should also seek medical care if your tonsils become swollen enough to limit breathing or swallowing.