Healthy Living

What Is Mono?

What is Mono?

Key Takeaways

  • Mono is very common among teenagers and adults.
  • The initial symptoms of the infection are fatigue and a sore throat.
  • If left untreated, mono may lead to complications such as hemolytic anemia, meningitis, hepatitis, seizures, and temporary facial paralysis.

Mono or mononucleosis, is a viral infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. This infection is also known as the "kissing disease". This condition is very common among teenagers and adults. Mono may persist for weeks and months together, but resolves on its own without any particular treatment. What is most needed is plentiful rest with some simple home remedies.

The initial symptoms of the infection are fatigue and a sore throat. The starting symptoms usually appear four to six weeks after exposure to the virus. The most prominent symptom of this infection is a whitish-yellow covering on the tonsils. In addition, tonsils and lymph glands remain swollen and painful.

After reviewing all the symptoms presented, your doctor would check out your tonsils to see if they are swollen and inflamed, and with the characteristic whitish-yellow covering, for confirmation of the "kissing disease". And on confirmation, the doctor would prescribe medications to help alleviate some of the symptoms.

Some of the most common symptoms of mono include:

  • High fever – If you have a persistent high fever, then it would be a good idea to get yourself checked out and see if you have mono. Moreover, if you have gotten mono, there are a few preventive measures you need to take, to avoid infecting others.
  • A sore throat that intensifies with time – A case of a persistent sore throat, but one that intensifies with time is reason enough to schedule a visit to the doctor. Get your sore throat looked at, as this could be on account of various health issues including mono.
  • Loss of appetite – If you find that you have a loss of appetite for no reason whatsoever, and this continues to persist for prolonged periods, then it may be a good idea to find out why. Get a consult done and see if the doctor is able to identify the root cause, which can be any one of the several health issues and conditions, including mono.
  • Muscular pain – If you find that you are suffering from muscular pain and that the pain is only increasing in both pain and intensity after a while, then it would be a good idea to get it looked at. Mono can cause you to experience muscular pain, and once it is confirmed, you can then take effective medications for the symptoms.
  • Skin rashes – Mono can cause skin rashes, and if you find that you have developed several welts and rashes in your skin, you may want to visit your doctor. Your doctor would probably want to do a few tests to rule out other health issues. If mono is confirmed, you can take the right medication to help alleviate some of the symptoms.
  • Malaise – If you find that you are suffering from malaise for unexplained reasons, then do consult a doctor and find out about what’s causing it. It could be any one of several health issues that could cause your condition, including mono.
  • Swelling of the spleen – If you are experiencing swelling in and around the spleen, then you need to consult a doctor right away. Mono is one of those few diseases that can cause your spleen to swell.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit and neck – One of the common indications of mono is swelling of the lymph nodes. A doctor often checks your lymph nodes as a way to confirm mono, and once mono is confirmed, you can then take effective medications for its symptoms.

Some of the less common symptoms of this disease include:

  • Headache – A persistent headache could be on account of various underlying health issues, including mono.
  • Cough – If you are coughing for no apparent reason, then it may be a good idea to visit a doctor and get it looked into. This could be on account of various health issues, including mono.
  • Chest pain – If you are experiencing chest pain, it can be an indication of a cardiovascular disease or just the kissing disease. Better pay your doctor a call right away so that he can help determine the main reason behind your current health condition.
  • Stiffness of the neck – Stiffness of the neck is not often associated with the kissing disease, but it has now been determined that mono can cause stiffness in the neck area.
  • Increased heart rate –if you find that you are experiencing an increased heart rate even when you are at complete rest, then this could be indicative of mono or one of the many health issues that can cause this to happen.
  • Difficulty breathing –If you are having difficulty breathing, then you may want to visit your doctor so that he can provide you with an accurate diagnosis. Mono often causes a difficulty in breathing.
  • Jaundice – Jaundice is also associated with mono in some way, so chances are that you could have mono if you happen to have jaundice as well.
  • Bleeding from the nose – Bleeding from the nose is often indicative of something serious, so check in with your doctor and get yourself checked out completely. 

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following:

  • Shortness of breath - may be due to the enlargement of the lymph nodes. It is vital that you seek out your physician or even consult a specialist for a rapid diagnosis and complete treatment.
  • Difficulty swallowing – if you are experiencing a difficulty in swallowing, then consult a doctor right away. The issue with swallowing could be that the tonsils have swollen due to mono.
  • Severe abdominal pain that may be due to rupturing of the spleen – If you find that you are experiencing severe abdominal pain along with swelling in the spleen area, then you need to get yourself admitted to the nearest emergency room since a splenic rupture is quite serious. Once your doctor confirms that it is mono, you can then move on to take the effective treatment for the condition.
  • Discoloration of the skin – Skin discoloration can occur when you have mono. So make sure that you get it looked at, and during your next visit to the doctor, ask him to identify the root cause. 
  • High fever that persists even after treatment – If you find that you are experiencing a persistent high fever despite taking over-the-counter medications, then it is the time that you consult a doctor. Explain your persistent fever and get an accurate diagnosis and corresponding treatment.

As the infection resolves on its own, self-care is the most important treatment possible. If you have mono, you should have adequate rest before you get back to your normal routine. You also have to drink plenty of water. Sore throat can be alleviated by gargling with salt water. Fever, pain due to sore throat, and headaches can be controlled by taking over-the-counter medications.

Avoid stressful activities such as lifting heavy objects as this may impact the spleen, which is already swollen due to the infection. If the swelling and pain are severe, corticosteroids may be prescribed to alleviate the symptoms.

If left untreated, mono may lead to complications such as hemolytic anemia, meningitis, hepatitis, seizures, and temporary facial paralysis. The disease may spread to others from an infected person when they are having symptoms and also up to a few months after having the infection. The duration for which a person remains contagious varies from person-to-person. 

Once mono is confirmed, you need to take a few preventive measures. Try to avoid coming into close contact with others. Since mono is extremely contagious and can easily pass from one person to another, it may be a good idea to avoid public places. Additionally, keep your clothing and other things separate from the rest. While this condition can and should disappear after a while, if it is left untreated, it can cause several health complications.

Make sure that you are eating healthy. Try to add whole wheat grains along with oats in your diet. Consume nutrient-rich foods with various vitamins and minerals. So eat healthy as it can help stave off infections like mono.