Infectious mononucleosis is also known as glandular fever. The Epstein-Barr virus is the most common cause. Most people who are affected will start feeling better in two to four weeks. However, the residual effects (such as tiredness) can last for months. Infectious mononucleosis is most commonly spread through the saliva but can also spread through blood, semen, and contaminated objects.
Diagnosis of infectious mononucleosis is based on the symptoms and confirmed with blood tests. While there is no vaccine available, individuals can prevent infectious mononucleosis by not kissing infected individuals or sharing personal items with them. The infection is usually self-limiting, but patients are encouraged to get sufficient rest, drink fluids, and take medications that can help with the symptoms (such as painkillers).
Most individuals are affected during childhood and have few (if any) symptoms. Mono symptoms are most apparent in adolescents and adults. Infectious mononucleosis often affects individuals who are between fifteen to twenty-four years old. Approximately 45 out of 100,000 individuals are affected by infectious mononucleosis annually in the United States. Almost 95 percent have had an Epstein-Barr virus infection by the time they reach adulthood.
Symptom #1: Pharyngitis and Tonsillitis
Pharyngitis is the inflammation of the back of the throat or pharynx, which usually leads to a sore throat and fever. Tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils, resulting in a fever, enlargement of the tonsils, and a sore throat. Both pharyngitis and tonsillitis are upper respiratory tract infections that can occur because of either a viral or bacterial infection. A sore throat is one of the most common symptoms associated with mononucleosis.
Other symptoms associated with both conditions are fever, cough, hoarseness, headache, and runny nose. If the symptoms are severe (especially if they occur in younger children), seek medical attention since these symptoms may lead to difficulty breathing and swallowing.