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Mononucleosis Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What Is Mononucleosis?

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) usually causes mononucleosis. Since this virus spreads through saliva, it is believed that kissing is a major cause leading to mononucleosis. Therefore, it is also known as the kissing disease. When a person suffers from mononucleosis, he will experience weakness for quite several weeks. Fortunately, it is a common illness and does not generally require a major treatment. Other than saliva, tears and mucus from throat and nose becomes a source of transmission of the disease from one person to another.

What Are The Symptoms Of Mononucleosis?

The symptoms are relatively mild in children while some adults are immune to the virus. However, the following symptoms are likely to evolve usually after four to six weeks of illness:

  • Swelling of lymph nodes.
  • Swollen tonsils.
  • Headache.
  • Fever.
  • Severe sore throat.
  • Rashes on skin.
  • Weariness.
  • Malaise.

Symptoms like fever and headache may last for a few weeks but other like swelling and weariness may last longer.

What Causes Mononucleosis?

The only factor that causes mononucleosis is the Epstein-Barr virus. This virus can spread through saliva, tears and mucus of throat and nose. In most cases, adults develop antibodies that give immunity to the body against Epstein-Barr virus.

What Are The Possible Complications Of Mononucleosis?

Although mononucleosis gets cured by itself, hepatitis and jaundice are two common complications that may arise. Enlargement of spleen is another dangerous complication because if the spleen gets cracked, severe pain arises on the left side of the upper abdomen.

This may need a surgery. Other uncommon complications include:

  • Low quantity of platelets.
  • Heart muscle inflammation.
  • Swelling of tonsils leading to breathing difficulties.
  • Anemia.
  • Nervous system complications including encephalitis and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
    Serious illnesses occur if a person has a weak immune system.

How Is Mononucleosis Diagnosed?

Doctors usually identify mononucleosis through the symptoms and their duration. They specifically observe live, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes. However, observations alone do not help doctors to diagnose mononucleosis properly and therefore the following tests are also often suggested:

  • Counting white blood cells. This test does not accurately diagnose mononucleosis but it gives doctors an idea about the condition.
  • Certain antibody tests are carried out to check antibodies against the Epstein-Barr virus.
    Through one or more procedures and tests, doctors are able to evaluate whether a person is suffering from mononucleosis or not.

How Is Mononucleosis Treated?

Since mononucleosis is a viral infection, antibiotics are useless. The following medications could help ease the symptoms of mononucleosis:

  • Corticosteroids like prednisone to treat swelling of throat and tonsils.
  • Treatment of secondary infections.

While some medications are beneficial for mononucleosis patients, others might be harmful. An example could be penicillin-type antibiotics that may well result in a rash. However, medications are not always necessary. Gargling with salty water several times a day, consuming too much of water and juices and taking over-the-counter pain relievers could help improve the symptoms and provide mononucleosis victims some relief.


By : Natural Health News

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