Mononucleosis Testing and Treatment
Known as the kissing disease, mononucleosis, or mono as it is often called, is transmitted through saliva. Although it is passed through kissing, it can also be passed through sneezing, coughing or sharing a glass, straw or food utensils with an infected person.
Mononucleosis is most often caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Similar symptoms can be caused by other viruses. This disease resolves on its own as the virus runs its course. There are usually no long-term effects with mono.
Mono is most prevalent among young adults and teenagers. Young children who contract mono often go undiagnosed because they have few symptoms. Adults usually have built up antibodies due to their exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus, and therefore are immune to mono.
Testing for mono involves a thorough examination with special attention given to the condition of your lymph nodes, tonsils, liver or spleen. Blood tests may be ordered to check antibodies for Epstein-Barr virus and white blood cell count. If the white blood cells look abnormal or their numbers are elevated, there may be a possibility that you have mono, if you have other symptoms also.
Since a virus causes mono, antibiotics will not be effective. Generally, the virus must run its course. Rest, eating healthy foods and keeping well hydrated are advised. Over-the-counter pain relievers are used for treating sore throat and reducing fever.
Symptoms of mononucleosis usually last for a week or two, then begin to improve. Fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes and swollen spleen may last more than a few weeks. If you have prolonged symptoms, you should see your doctor. Symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Swollen tonsils
- Skin rash
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits
- Soft or swollen spleen
The virus has a four- to six-week incubation period. It may be shorter in young children. Even though there are seldom long-term effects from the virus, there are occasionally complications that can result in an enlarged spleen or liver problems. The liver could become inflamed, and some people experience jaundice, which causes the skin and whites of the eyes to turn yellow.
Dr. Michael can provide you with tips on the best way to cope with mononucleosis. If your symptoms are lasting longer than a couple of weeks or you are feeling discomfort or pain, contact us to schedule an appointment.