Valentine's Day is right around the comer and many are planning a romantic evening with a loved one. If this is you, be sure you don’t have symptoms of mono.
Mononucleosis is spread by saliva and close contact. Although more common in ages from
15- 17, mono can develop at any age. Mono is caused by the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) and is very similar to the Cytomegalovirus (CMV). The similarities in symptoms cause misdiagnosis, for example strep throat and the flu.
The EPV causes:
•Loss of appetite
•Sore throat (white pus at the back of the throat)
•Swollen Lymph nodes
Many of these symptoms are similar to the flu, but unlike the flu virus, the mono virus dwells in your system for a longer period of time. And also unlike the flu, antibiotics do not work as a treatment for the "kissing disease."
So how will the doctor know you have mono?
After explaining your symptoms to your physician, a blood test will be scheduled to clarify the underlying issue. If indeed you are infected with the "kissing disease" the blood tests will show that your white blood cell count is higher than normal.
To further determine the diagnosis they will proceed with a Monospot test, which will read positive or negative for one of the two viruses that cause mono.
Jackie Blew, a freshman here at Penn State has had her share of run-ins with the disease. "I've had mono twice and now I think I have it again. The first time I got it was in 8th grade from sharing drinks with my friends and the second time I got it was from stress. It sucks!" Blew said.
Stress? Yes, according to on line sources mono is in the herpes family and just like herpes once you have it, it never goes away. After overcoming the symptoms involved with mono, the virus stays dormant in your system and those unlucky with low immune systems and high stress levels have a greater chance of reactivating the mono virus.
Remember, mono is contagious for a few months after being treated, so be aware and don’t be shy to contact the Health Services located on campus.
Allen Sabatino, coordinator of the Health Services says he only sees about two to three cases of mono per year, a relatively low number considering many students are unaware of how to avoid the virus.
"Because about 50 percent of people infected with mono have enlarged spleens, we encourage students to avoid contact sports like football. The reason is because if they get hit in the abdomen their spleen can rupture causing more problems," Sabatino said.
With such risks involved with the mono virus, it is extremely important that you get diagnosed as soon as possible. But beware sometimes the Monospot test (which can be performed at the Health Service) can read negative if performed too early. To ensure the credibility of the test, a blood sample will be drawn and the results will be back within 48 hours.
Due to swelling in the back of the throat Sabatino has to use a special kind of treatment to ease the discomfort. .
"Sometimes I will have to give the patient oral steroids to reduce the swelling, and have the patient be able to eat and drink to ensure they get better."
So, everyone should pay attention to symptoms similar to the flu or cold that last longer than two weeks. If others symptoms are also present, stop by the Health Services and get tested.
The only treatment options are:
•Drinking lots of fluid
•Gargling with warm salt water to ease the sore throat
•Plenty of rest
•Taking Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen for fever and pain
There are some very easy ways to lowering your chances of getting mono.
1. Avoid kissing anyone who has the virus
2. Avoid sharing utensils/drinks/cigarettes
3. Be sure to recognize the symptoms in others and let them know.