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Symptoms of mono

What Is Mononucleosis?

What Is Mononucleosis?

Infectious mononucleosis is commonly callcd mono. It also is known as the kissing disease. In some cases, it has been called the sleeping disease bccause it makes people extremely tired. Mono Is passed through saliva during oral contact such as kissing. Sharing personal items such as drinking glasses or toothbrushes can spread it. too. People can get the disease from germs in the air when someone coughs or sneezes, but this rarely happens.What Is Mononucleosis?

At least half of teens entering college are estimated to have had the disease. Many of them may not know they ever had mono because the symptoms were not severe. They probably thoughtthey just had a bad cold.

The Epstein-bart Virus

The The Epstein-virus (EBV) causes 9 out of 10 mono cases.

EBV is one type of herpesvirus. Other herpesviruses can cause chicken pox. mumps, cold sores, or fever blisters. EBV attacks the immune system, which helps the body fight genus and infection.

The immune system includes the blood and the different parts of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is made up of vessels that drain lymph, or extra fluid, from the body's cells. Lymph glands in the neck, armpits, and groin work to keep a balanced flow of lymph.

When viruses enter the body, the immune system works to fight them off. Some cells in the blood, called white blood cells, create antibodies that fight the invading germs. These antibodies do daily battle against all sorts of different invaders. Without the immune system, the body could not survive.

EBV first infects and reproduces in the salivary glands. Then EBV begins to affect the blood. White blood cells, called B-cells.

begin to reproduce in an unusual manner. Many of these cells look unusually large under a microscope. The other white blood cells, called T-cells, then arc activated against the virus and destroy the damaged B-cells.

EBV attacks the lymphatic system through the blood. The lymph glands become swollen. As the immune system weakens, the body is less able to fight off disease. With the passage of time, however, a normal immune system can fight off the invading virus.

Symptoms of Mononucleosis

Early symptoms of mono may includc general fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, and painful, puffy eyes. These symptoms may lead to a sore throat as well as swollen lymph glands.

A fever caused by mono may be as high as 105 degrees. In some people the fever may remain for only a few days. In others it may last for up to three weeks. A slight pink rash may develop in people with mono. Sometimes people who have mono can have a temporarily enlarged spleen. The spleen is an organ of lymph tissue that filters the blood. It also produces disease-fighting white blood cells.

In children, mono usually produces cither mild flu-like symptoms or none at all. The symptoms of mono are more severe in older people.

Less common symptoms of mono are jaundice, or yellowed skin, and extreme sensitivity to light. A few people may have severe neck .stiffness, a cough, or shortness of breath. There also are recorded cases of older people who had chest pain and a rapid heartbeat.

A typical case of mono lasts about two weeks. The tiredness, however, may last up to three months. Usually mono is more of an inconvenience than anything else.

Symptoms of mono include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fever
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches or stiffness
  • Rash
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes, especially in the neck and armpit
  • Swollen spleen

Less frequently occurring mono  symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Hives
  • Jaundice (yellow color to the skin)
  • Neck stiffness
  • Nosebleed
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Shortness of breath

The initial symptoms of mono feel very much like a typical viral illness. It is not necessary to contact a health care provider unless symptoms last longer than 10 days or you develop the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Persistent high fevers (more than 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Severe sore throat or swollen tonsils
  • Weakness in the arm or legs
  • Yellow discoloration of your eyes or skin

Call 911 or go to an emergency room if you develop:

  • Sharp, sudden, severe abdominal pain
  • Significant difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Stiff neck or severe weakness



Who Gets Mono?

Anyone can get mono at any age. More than 7 out of 10 people who get mono, however, are between ages 15 and 30. Doctors estimate that 50 out of 100.000 Americans have symptoms of mono at any given time. The figures are even higher for college students.

Epidemics can occur at certain places at specific times. Doctors have noticed clusters of mono outbreaks. For instance, one college campus may report several cases, yet another campus may report hardly any. Doctors see most people with mono in spring and fall. However, no one knows why people get mono in one season instead of another.

Incubation Period

An incubation period is the time from exposure to a disease to the development of symptoms. For adults exposed to mono, it may take between four to six weeks for symptoms to develop. In children and adolescents, it may take only 7 to 14 days.

Points to Consider

How do people get mono?

What arc the symptoms of mono?

What is the name of the virus that causes mono?

Why do you think mono is so contagious?

Where does EBV first enter the body?

Doctors now know a lot more about mono than they did in I960.

Now they know that a virus causes it. It is easily passed through saliva. People who get it are not unclean. Lots of average people get it.

The Beginnings of Mono

Early cases of an illness that resembled mono were recorded in the 1800s. People had swollen glands, fever, and sore throat. This disease became known as glandular fever.

Two American doctors investigated this sickness in 1920. Doctors Sprunt and Evans took blood from college students who had mono-like symptoms. The doctors found that the blood samples had a very high number of particular white blood cells. These cells were called mononuclear lymphocytes. They were larger than normal white blood cells. The name infectious mononucleosis camc to describe the disease we know today. The virus that causcs this disease produces the unusual mononuclear cells.