Mononucleosis: 7 symptoms of the kissing disease

By Mobel 5 Min Read

Mononucleosis is also known as mono or the kissing disease. It is contagious so, know the signs of mononucleosis or the kissing disease.

Kissing may boost your happy hormones and offer many health benefits. But it may also end up transmitting bacteria and virus. Mononucleosis or mono is called the kissing disease for a reason. The virus responsible for it usually gets spread through saliva. It is quite common and can affect people of different age groups. However, it typically occurs in teenagers and young adults. Read on to know the signs of mononucleosis or mono.

What is mononucleosis?

Mononucleosis is a viral infection, typically caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is widely disseminated in all population groups. It is mostly common in people who are aged between 15 and 24, according to a 2023 research published in StatPearls.

What are the causes of mono?

The primary cause of mononucleosis is the EBV, EBV is highly contagious and can spread through saliva, mucus, and sometimes tears. Close contact with an infected person, such as kissing or sharing utensils, can facilitate transmission. Also, mono can spread through coughing, sneezing, or by sharing personal items like toothbrushes or glasses.

What are the signs of mononucleosis?

The symptoms of mono can take four or six weeks to appear. Here are some of the signs –

1. Extreme fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom of mono and can be overwhelming, often lasting for weeks or even months. It can interfere with daily activities and may not improve even after resting,

2. Sore throat

Mono can cause a severe sore throat, which may make swallowing painful. The throat may appear red and swollen, and white patches or pus may be present on the tonsils.

3. Swollen lymph nodes

Lymph nodes, particularly those in the neck and armpits, may become bigger and tender. This swelling is your body’s immune response to the viral infection,

4. Fever

A low-grade fever is common in people with mono and may persist for several days or weeks. The body’s temperature is a sign that the immune system is trying its best to fight the virus.

5. Headache

Many people with mono have headaches, which can be mild or severe. These headaches may be accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue and muscle aches.

6. Muscle aches

Mono can cause generalised muscle aches and weakness throughout the body. These symptoms can contribute to the overall feeling of fatigue.

7. Rash

In some cases, mono may cause a red, spotty rash, particularly if the person is treated with antibiotics, The rash is typically not itchy and may appear as small, flat, pink spots on the limbs or trunks.

How is mono diagnosed?

Physical examination, and a few tests may help in diagnosing the kissing disease.

  • A doctor may perform a physical exam to check for symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes.
  • Blood tests, such as a monospot test or EBV antibody test, can detect the presence of antibodies produced by the immune system in response to the Epstein-Barr virus.

What are the ways to treat mono?

There is no specific cure for mono, so treatment focuses on managing symptoms and allowing the body to recover naturally,

  • You may be told to rest, stay hydrated, and take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce fever and relieve discomfort.
  • In severe cases, corticosteroids may be prescribed by your doctor to reduce swelling and inflammation.

How long does it take to recover from mono?

The recovery time for mono varies from person-to-person, but typically ranges from a few weeks to several months. While symptoms such as fatigue and sore throat may improve within a few weeks, it is not uncommon for fatigue to persist for several months.

Can a person get mono again?

Once a person has been infected with the Epstein-Barr virus and developed mono, they typically develop lifelong immunity and are unlikely to get the kissing disease again. However, it is possible to experience a recurrence of symptoms if the virus reactivates, although this is rare.

To reduce the risk of contracting mono, avoid close contact with people who are infected, practice good hygiene such as washing hands frequently, avoid sharing personal items, and refrain from kissing if your partner has symptoms of mono.

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