It used to be called the Kissing Disease and throughout elementary, junior high and high school its name was often mentioned. It was often thrown about with nary a care and used as a disparaging remark. You may remember the school yard taunting of “Betty has mono”, “Kim has mono” or “Greg gave Sherry mono”. Whichever way it was said it was never a good thing. Mono is a genuine concern to youngsters and one that more people should know about. Read further to find out more.
In this article, we will answer many questions regarding this illness. In doing so we hope to give children and parents alike a much better grasp on this so-called ‘rite of passage’ sickness. Sit back and learn about mononucleosis, better known as mono.
What exactly is mono?
Mononucleosis, or mono for short, is a viral infection that typically affects children and young adults. Most have heard of this insidious illness.
What is its cause?
The cause of mono is the Epstein-Barr virus and the cytomegalovirus. Often times, viral infections are more difficult to treat than bacterial infections.
How is it spread?
Mono is mainly spread through the exchange of saliva, hence its old-fashioned name of the Kissing Disease. Due to the fact that children and young adults are experimenting with their sexuality through kissing their friends, this age group is particularly vulnerable.
How can one catch it?
As previously mentioned, kissing is a main mode of transmission as is the sharing of utensils, as in a spoon for ice cream or some other treat that children and young adults often partake in. One can catch mono by even the simple act of holding hands with an infected individual.
How long is the contagious period?
The contagious period of mono is up to two full months. This gives children and young adults ample time to spread the virus while at school, at social activities, or merely by staying at home around family members.
What are the symptoms?
Mono has several different symptoms, amongst which the main ones being sore throat and fever. Along with these symptoms fatigue also plays a large role. Depending on the severity of the infection, and the infected one’s age, spleen problems may also arise.
How long does it last?
Mono symptoms may last up to four or so weeks. Energy levels can typically take much longer to rise.
Can I get it more than once?
As with any virus it is typically caught once in a lifetime, if that. In some very rare cases individuals have been known to be re-infected, but they are very few and far between.
How will I know it if I have it?
A standard test can, and should, be performed by your internist to ascertain if one is infected with mononucleosis.
Is it a big deal if I am positive for it?
No, generally mono is not a huge problem and will get better over time. Unfortunately, sometimes complications from the viral infection will arise thus making it a health concern for the infected party.