Infectious mononucleosis is a flu-like syndrome that is a highly infectious condition caused by the herpes viruses. Infectious mononucleosis is also called the kissing disease because it is initially known to spread the virus by kissing someone. Its oral transmission makes it even faster to spread. It is also caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). While it is not categorized as deadly and dangerous, infectious mononucleosis can result in very uncomfortable symptoms.
What is infectious mononucleosis
Infectious mononucleosis is a common viral infection that comes from the herpes virus origin. It spreads by direct contact, such as through salivary contact or by coming in contact with the saliva when coughing. It can also spread by sharing foods or drinks and eating utensils from an infected person. It is common for an infected individual not knowing they have the disease because the symptoms only become apparent after four to eight weeks from the time of their exposure to the virus. Adults are likely to manifest more symptoms while infected children usually seldom show symptoms of Infectious mononucleosis.
Infectious mononucleosis that lasts for more than 8 weeks can possibly result to a chronic EBV infection. This will cause the virus to lie dormant in the blood. The infected person will not manifest any symptom, but it has the potential risk of developing nasopharyngeal carcinoma and Burkitt's Lymphoma, which are rare forms of cancer. In certain cases, people may reach the age of 35 without knowing that they already have the infection. But for some reasons, their body already developed an antibody that keeps the virus dormant and may only become active when the body's immune defenses become weak.
Symptoms of infectious mononucleosis
The infectious mononucleosis has flu-like symptoms that may initially be considered as a normal flu and you will likely experience these symptoms whenever you contract the illness:
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph glands
- Weak muscles (body)
- Body pain
- Night sweats
- Inflamed tonsils
Once you get the virus, you may have to endure several weeks of agonizing sore throat if medical attention is not immediately given. It is important to get an early treatment for your condition as your symptoms may continue to progress and may become worse.
Treatment of infectious mononucleosis
The most common treatments indicated for infectious mononucleosis includes the following:
- Pain reliever
- Excessive liquid intake
- Enough rest
- Water with salt gargle
Infectious mononucleosis spreads through the saliva and is very common to teenagers. However, anyone can get it regardless of their age. The difference of infectious mononucleosis from a regular flu is that it takes longer to go away and may take one to two months before one completely gets well. The mononucleosis' incubation period for children is less than those with adults who contracted the disease.
Possible complications of infectious mononucleosis
- Liver inflammation
Infectious mononucleosis can possibly result in hepatitis that can cause minor inflammation in the liver and jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin and the eyes.
The white blood cells reproduced more to combat the disease which ultimately result to low red blood cells.
- Enlarged spleen
There is a possibility of a ruptured spleen during bouts of infectious mononucleosis. Avoid engaging in strenuous activities after recovery to avoid it from getting ruptured. A ruptured spleen can cause significant pain and may cause infection.
- Swollen tonsils
A swollen tonsil can obstruct the air passage that may cause significant difficulty in breathing.
- Inflammation of the heart
Inflammation of the heart is usually caused by the overall stress that the body goes through during the infection. Fever, muscle weakness and pain can stress the heart activities and it may become a potential risk of triggering a heart attack among those with a heart condition.
Seeing your doctor
Most patients usually treat their condition with over-the-counter medicines for flu during the early stage of the infection. In most cases, treating your condition early may not require you to see a doctor. Long term symptoms that may last for weeks, however, usually force patients to visit their doctor to get the proper diagnosis of their flu-like symptom. The early symptoms of infectious mononucleosis are manageable with sufficient rest, fluid intake, gargling with water mixed with salt and flu medicine. However, getting professional help is needed at the early stage of the illness in order to prevent infecting others. The virus can spread easily to family members and seeing your doctor will help you obtain the appropriate treatment intervention before spreading the infection.
Antibiotics are also prescribed to be taken for a week or two. Infectious mononucleosis cannot be directly treated, however, and the usual intervention given includes the management of its symptoms. Strengthening the body's immune system is helpful. Prior to taking any medication, it is best to see your doctor for proper prescription. Antibiotics are usually prescribed by your doctor while making sure that It is safe for your condition. Some patients have drug allergy and a rash formation may potentially occur. It is not advisable to self medicate when you have infectious mononucleosis. Your doctor knows better and you should get professional help immediately, especially at the early stage of the infection.