Mononucleosis is a viral infection. It is spread through direct contact with saliva from another person infected with the virus. The infected person can spread the infection by kissing, sharing food, coughing, or shaking hands. It is spread less often through contact with blood or semen.
Symptoms usually begin 4-6 weeks after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include fatigue, muscle aches, fever, sore throat, and swollen neck glands. Most people will improve within 2-4 weeks.
The doctor will diagnosis mononucleosis from your symptoms, exam and lab tests. Treatment includes rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain or fever. Antibiotics do not help.
Mononucleosis can cause your spleen to enlarge and possibly rupture with minimal injury. Therefore, it is wise to avoid contact sports until a month after your mono symptoms have resolved.
The best prevention is to avoid contact with the infected person’s saliva and other bodily fluids until their symptoms have completely resolved.
Submitted by Matthew Peters, MD