Mononucleosis is also known as mono, Epstein-Barr virus infection, or “the kissing disease”. Mono is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. The condition is transmitted by an infected person’s saliva. Therefore, you can catch the condition by sharing saliva with someone either by kissing, sharing a drink, sharing food utensils, or being close to someone who has mono and coughs or sneezes. Mono can last anywhere from ten days to three months. Unfortunately, there is no medical treatment for mono. Treatment often includes treating the symptoms and getting plenty of rest. Otherwise, mono usually goes away by itself.
· About 50 percent of the children in the United States have been affected by the EBV virus that is responsible for the development of mono.
· Among teens and young adults, about 50 percent of them develop symptoms associated with mononucleosis and 50 percent do not show any symptoms at all.
· Mono is not a viral infection that commonly causes death; according to the World Health Organization there have only 78 recorded deaths associated with a strain of mononucleosis.
While mono is contagious, it is not nearly as contagious as other highly contagious conditions such as the common cold. It is estimated that there about 45 in every 100,000 people get mono from the Epstein-Barr virus. Those who are most likely to develop mono including all its signs and symptoms are adolescents or young adults. Younger children get mono too, but young children often do not have most of the symptoms that occur with mono. For this reason, many young children or their parents are unaware they even have the infection.
The signs and symptoms of mono may include extreme fatigue, sore throat, fever, rash, loss of appetite, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes and spleen. The signs and symptoms of mono usually begin to come on slowly and usually appear within about four to six weeks after a person has been exposed to the virus. The most noticeable (and most painful) symptoms of mono includes sore throat symptoms which are most painful about five to seven days into having the virus. These sore throat symptoms usually subside within about a week. Another common symptoms includes swelling in lymph nodes. This usually gets better within about three weeks.
There is no medical treatment for mono. However, getting plenty of rest and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help ease symptoms. Self-care for mono includes plenty of bed rest, over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce fever and muscle aches, gargling with warm salt water, and using lozenges or hard candy to soothe sore throats.