Good grief! Is mono still around? That was the status disease back in my younger days. Mono is short for mononucleosis, and has a number of symptoms, such as fatigue, sore throat, weakness, loss of appetite, fever, general malaise. It used to have a long, drawn-out recovery period, but I'm not sure what the incubation period is. Here goes the broken record again: Check with your doctor. You probably have something else. Mono used to be called the kissing disease, as people were purported to contract it by mouth-to-mouth contact. When I was pregnant with my second child, my doctor told me I had mono. It turned out I was pregnant instead. If you end up having mono, I don't think you'll be quarantined any more. In fact, I really don't think you have it at all. It's pretty much unheard of these days, just like smallpox and diphtheria --( No, I'm not quite that old.) LOL!
Infectious mononucleosis (also known in North America as mono, the kissing disease or Pfeiffer's disease, and more commonly known as glandular fever in other English-speaking countries) is a disease seen most commonly in adolescents and young adults, characterized by fever, sore throat and fatigue. It is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or the cytomegalovirus (CMV).After an initial early symptom of 1-2 weeks, the fatigue of mono often lasts from 1-2 months. The virus can remain dormant in the B cells indefinitely after symptoms have disappeared, and resurface at a later date. Many people exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus do not show symptoms of the disease, but carry the virus and can transmit it to others. This is especially true in children, in whom infection seldom causes more than a very mild illness which often goes undiagnosed
How Do I Get Mono?
Most people who get mono are between the ages of 10 and 25. The mono virus affects your lymph nodes, throat, salivary glands, liver, spleen, and blood, and it can make you lose your appetite and feel tired and achy all over. Salivary glands are located inside of your mouth â€” on the inside of your cheeks and under your tongue â€” and produce saliva, or spit. Your spleen is located on the left side of your abdomen, just under the rib cage, and it helps cleanse your blood of bacteria and viruses.
Mono is contagious, which means you can easily spread the virus to other people who haven't had mono before. Even though you can get mono from kissing someone infected with EBV, there are also other ways you can get it, but they all involve contact with saliva. Coughing (while not covering your mouth) on someone or sharing pillows, straws, toothbrushes, or food from the same plate also spread mono.
If you get mono, you can infect other people for up to 6 months afterward. At first, people usually don't feel sick after getting infected with the EBV virus. So someone could have mono â€” and be spreading it â€” and not even know it. That's why it's important not to share things like forks, straws, or lip gloss at school.
How Do I Know I Have It?
Mono almost always causes you to feel really, really tired, but you may have other symptoms, too. These include:
swollen lymph glands (the infection-fighting glands in your neck, underarms, groin, and elsewhere throughout your body)
enlarged liver or spleen (an organ located on the left side of your belly, right under your ribs, that filters blood and helps fight infections)
Sometimes, it may seem like you have the flu or maybe strep throat because the symptoms are so much alike. The only way to tell for sure if you have mono is to go to a doctor, who will examine you and draw blood for tests (one test is called the Monospot) to see if you have mono.
If You Have Mono
Usually with mono you will need plenty of rest, which means no school for a while, no sports, and no running outside playing with friends or even wrestling with your little brother. While you're resting, it's a good idea to drink plenty of water and other fluids. You can ask your mom or dad to give you a pain reliever if you have a fever or if your muscles are sore. Don't take any aspirin, though, because that can put you at risk for a condition called Reye syndrome, which can be dangerous.
If you play contact sports, such as football and basketball, you will probably need to avoid them while you're sick and for about a month after you get better â€” especially if your spleen is enlarged. Your doctor will let you know when it's safe for you to get back in the game.
While you have mono, you might get a little constipated, which means that you have trouble having bowel movements (pooping). Talk to your mom or dad if you can't poop or your bowel movements are hard instead of soft. Eating plenty of veggies, fruits, and grains and drinking plenty of water can help get things moving.
You'll probably be happy to hear that mono usually goes away after a few weeks, even though you'll have to take it easy for awhile. Make sure you wash your hands after you cough or sneeze. Keep your straws, forks, and toothbrushes to yourself, and . . . no kissing for a few months!