Signs and Symptoms
One should call a doctor when he or she is sick and notices the following signs and symptoms:
- One has very severe pain in the upper left portion of the abdomen. This could indicate that the spleen has been damaged or has ruptured. This condition of rupturing of the spleen is not common and only occurs if it is to the extremes.
- The tonsils have swollen to the extent that one cannot breathe correctly or swallow anything.
- One has a severe sore throat that lasts two to three days after trying out natural remedies. One should call the medical professional.
- If one has not visited the hospital and feels weak, has body aches, and has some swollen lymph nodes, there is a need to be alarmed.
The medical professionals to see include pediatricians, internists, family doctors, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants.
In most cases, no specific treatment is necessary for mononucleosis. The disease, like other viral infections, subsides with time and healthy lifestyle changes. Primary care specialists, such as general physicians or pediatricians, are usually consulted regarding the infection. Depending on the complication or severity of the case, other specialists, like gastroenterologists, cardiologists, or neurologists, may need to be consulted. In the case of a rupture of the spleen, a surgeon will be involved. It is essential that a doctor be contacted in case the symptoms increase or get worse.
Another common yet not very serious complication of the infection is inflammation of the liver or hepatitis. However, as the infection subsides, the condition is known to improve. Uncommon severe complications from the infection include inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart or pericarditis, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), or destruction of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia). There is a risk of complications arising out of dehydration, so it is important to keep hydrated.
A doctor usually relies on symptoms and blood tests to positively confirm mononucleosis infections. Therefore, ensure any form of discomfort or unease experienced, however insignificant, is clearly communicated to the doctor.
The doctor will carry out the mono spot test. This is where the doctor takes a blood sample and adds some reagents, and, when the result appears agglutinated, it shows infection in the body. An antibody test could also be carried out. Blood is mixed with a substance that attaches to the antibodies that are formed to fight any infections that may be arising. Other antibody tests are done to ascertain if the disease has occurred in the recent time or has stayed for a longer period. Also, another test, known as the EBV test, could be carried out to show if one has the virus. Here the antibodies that are tested could show if one has ever contracted the disease before or never has. This test is done when one has the symptoms of having the virus, but other tests indicate there is no infection. This test can also be done when a person has a disease and reacts with the medication one is given.
The patient is required to talk to the doctor about the concerns he or she has about the disease or the fears concerning it and the risks that may arise from the disease. This mono spot test is usually done on a slide by taking a small amount of blood from the veins. The hands are first cleaned with soap and warm water. The hand is then massaged before being punctured to get blood from the middle finger. The first drop of the blood is then wiped off. A small capillary tube is the attached to where the blood oozes from, and collections are done. After finishing, some cotton is used to seal the place with some pressure applied to the place before tying a bandage on the surface. The doctor taking a blood sample from a patient wraps some bands on the hand of the individual. He then cleans the needle he will be using with alcohol, inserts the injection, and then draws blood to the tube and puts cotton wool on the site while applying pressure before placing a bandage on it. Sometimes a small bruise may form on the surface; one may have a swollen blood vein or an ongoing blood flow may occur.
For the Epstein Barr test, if it is known to be positive, that is when antibodies are there. The result is negative when the antibodies are not there. This test also shows the antibodies that are in the body. Mostly, these antibodies are used to indicate if the infection has lasted a longer period or arisen recently. The one gM is usually found in the body when the disease is still present, while the 1gG is found at a later stage when the one is recovering. This result sometimes can show a false negative result when the disease has attacked the person in the early days. Also, if the patient has a very weak immunity, false results can also be read. Many people think the disease is usually associated with fatigue, which is also wrong.
Luckily, complications in mononucleosis are far and few between, and it is very rarely fatal in people. It tends to be aggressive in patients with an abnormal immune system. It is important to note that though specific treatment may not be required for mononucleosis infections, the risk of possible complications make it vital that patients are under the care of a doctor. It is important to nip it at the bud and not wait for complications to reach alarming rates.
There is no way of preventing mononucleosis, given the contagious nature of the disease. Anybody is susceptible to mononucleosis infection, but it is commonly seen among adolescents and young adults. Most people invariably come in contact with the virus at some point in their life. However, you can ensure the intensity of the infection is low by strengthening your immune system. Maintaining a healthy, hygienic lifestyle, including adequate rest, regular exercise, and nutritional food, can boost your immunity levels and keep you healthy.