Mononucleosis is an acute illness characterized by throat pain (pharyngitis), fever, and swollen lymph nodes. It is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and is sometimes called “mono” or “the kissing disease.” It spreads easily among people in close spaces.
How does it spread?
Mononucleosis spreads easily. Over time, almost everyone in the population is exposed to the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). Many people, though, do not develop any noticeable signs and symptoms of illness. EBV resides in the nose and throat so if someone comes in contact with the saliva, tears, or mucus of an infected person that person will likely get sick.
Mono can also spread if a person shares contaminated utensils or a drinking glass with someone else. And, of course, EBV can spread through close contact such as kissing. Usually, the EBV virus takes between four to six weeks after exposure to show symptoms. People can be contagious during that time.
The classic symptoms of mono are:
- High-grade fever (101°F to 104 °F), chills
- Sore throat with inflamed tonsils and white patches
- Inflamed lymph nodes on the entire body
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal cramps
In some cases, mononucleosis can cause the spleen to rupture. As such, your healthcare professional may recommend avoiding any strenuous physical activity that increases the risk of spleen rupture.
Monospot and EBV antibody tests are done to diagnose mononucleosis. If a monospot test is undertaken in the early days after exposure, there is a possibility that the result can be a false negative as EBV takes 4-6 weeks to mature and produce the symptoms of the illness, as discussed above.
A blood draw may be used to confirm the diagnosis of the disease and to rule out other infections.
Supportive therapy such as fluid intake, proper rest, and antipyretics like acetaminophen or anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen are typically recommended for patients with mononucleosis.
There are currently no prescription anti-viral treatments for mono. A medical provider may prescribe medications for symptoms. For example, a medical provider may prescribe analgesics to soothe throat pain or steroids to reduce tonsil swelling.
In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.
When to visit a doctor:
If you have a high-grade fever, chills, and sore throat that does not resolve in a timely manner, seek medical assistance.
Treatment for mononucleosis is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.
For more information regarding mononucleosis, see the following website: