Shared by a kiss, a glass or a straw, mononucleosis spreads through contact. Some may know it as the kissing disease, but the medical term for it is infectious mononucleosis. Also known as mono, the disease typically occurs among people between the ages of 15 and 35.
According to WebMd.com, mono is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, a common member of the herpes family. This virus, found within the human saliva and mucus, typically spreads by kissing. However, according to FamilyDoctor.org, it can spread other ways, such as by coughing.
Signs of mono typically will not appear until about four-to-six weeks after exposure to the virus.
According to University of Arkansas
at Monticello’s Director of Student Health Services Terri
Richardson, typical symptoms and signs of mononucleosis
include fever, enlarged and tender lymph nodes, sore throat
and fatigue. However, some with mono may also experience the
§ enlarged spleen or liver
§ abdominal pain
§ aching muscles
§ loss of appetite
§ skin rash
§ dizziness or disorientation
§ puffy and swollen eyes
Complications of mono included the possibility of an enlarged spleen. According to FamilyDoctor.org, the spleen can tear; however, it rarely occurs. Signs of a ruptured spleen include pain in the left upper part of abdomen, lightheadedness, rapid and hard heartbeat, easy bleeding and trouble breathing. Anyone who experiences any of these symptoms should contact the doctor immediately.
Richardson suggested resting, treating the symptoms with acetaminophen for fever and avoiding heavy physical activity and contact sports for those with mono. She also offered some preventative measures.
“Avoid kissing or sharing a straw, food, dishes, glasses or utensils with someone who has fever or is known to be infected with mono since it is spread through direct contact with saliva from an infected person,” Richardson said.
Once someone contracts the virus, it stays in the body for the rest of their life, according to KidsHealth.org. From time to time, the virus can become active and spread to others, according to WebMd.com.
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ŠThe Voice 2006
Revised 01/13/2008 03:32:59 PM — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/4_12/mono.htm