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
Tetanus is a problem with the nervous system. It is caused by bacteria. This bacteria releases a toxin that causes severe muscle contractions and can cause death. The disease has been called “lockjaw” because it can cause severe painful spasm of the muscles around the jaw.
The disease usually occurs after suffering a deep cut or puncture wound, or foreign body such as a splinter. Most people will develop symptoms within a week of injury. Treatment for the illness once symptoms begin is very difficult and intensive.
The good news is that this disease is preventable with immunizations. Most people have received a series of tetanus immunizations during childhood. Adults should get a tetanus booster every ten years. If you have a deep or dirty wound, it is likely your healthcare provider will recommend a booster if it has been longer than five years since your last booster.
Submitted by Matthew Peters, MD
Q: I was previously on birth control for almost 2 years and in the middle of April I stopped taking birth control pills. At the begining of June I started back on birth control again. Is it safe to have protected sex now with just the pill and without using another form of birth control, or do I have to wait an entire month after starting on birth control?
A: You will be protected from getting pregnant after 7 days of consistent use of birth control pills. Consistent use means that you’re taking the pill every day at the same time (plus or minus 2 hours). So basically, one week of birth control pills is enough to put the ovaries to sleep and keep you from getting pregnant.
However, having the phrases “protected sex” and “without using another form of birth control” in the same sentence makes us a little nervous. We can not stress enough that birth control pills (or patches or shots or IUD’s) only protect you from getting pregnant. They do NOT protect you from contracting sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, syphillis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HPV, etc. So please, please, please make sure that you are using other forms of barrier protection (condoms, dental dams) to protect yourself from contracting an STI.
Any Ohio State student (even thsoe without Student Health Insurance) can be seen at Student Health Women’s Services. We now have 3 full-time health care providers (1 doctor and 2 nurse practitioners) who are available to consult with you for any concerns related to your reproductive health. We encourage you to see us during your time at Ohio State wo we can help you maximize your health!
Li-Chun Liu, CNP – Ohio State Student Health Services