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Infectious Mononucleosis

Also known as mononucleosis or mono Pfeiffer’s illness or glandular fever, infectious mononucleosis can be detected by swollen lymph glands and continuous exhaustion. The disease is named such as the number of mononuclear leukocytes which belong to white cells increase in number. The etiology of the condition is EBV (Epstein – Barr virus) or in certain cases CMV. Both these viruses belong to the family of herpes simplex. According to the majority of the adults in the United States are exposed to the virus Epstein – Barr, a very ubiquitous virus. Although the virus does not show any evident effects in children it does in adolescents which can lead to infectious mononucleosis in approximately fifty percent of cases of exposure to the virus.

The other virus called cytomegalovirus which also belongs to the family of herpes simplex causes the cells to become larger. According to data, roughly eighty percent of adolescents infected with this virus normally don’t exhibit any further symptoms. Although EBV has the ability to create infectious mononucleosis in teens the virus could make throat and blood cells its home for the lifetime. The virus has the power to bounce back and respond from time to time but the consolation is that it would reactivate without symptoms.

The illness normally lasts for 1-2 months. The symptoms may vary from one adolescent to another but may include inflamed lymph glands in areas such as groin, neck, and armpits, fever, continuous fatigue, enlarged spleen, sore throat as a result of tonsillitis that can make things difficult to swallow and last but not the least minor liver damage that can lead to short-term jaundice. Some teens may also develop symptoms such as abdominal pain, petechial hemorrhage, muscular ache, headache, depression, lack of appetite, skin rash, weakness, disorientation, enlarged prostrate, dry cough, inflated genitals, and puffy and swollen eyes. Some parents are surprised by the symptoms of mononucleosis as it may be similar to other medical illnesses. It is safe to visit a doctor in such instances.

The viruses are frequently spread to other individuals through saliva (the reason why it is sometimes called kissing disease), blood, sharing drinks, and sharing utensils. The symptoms normally last for 4-6 weeks and do not cross 4 months. The condition is diagnosable but requires a thorough medical history of the adolescent. The diagnosis also entails the physical examination of the adolescent and is based on symptoms reported to the clinician. The diagnosis is further supported by laboratory tests such as blood tests, antibody tests, and tests to count white blood cells.

A break of about a month is normally advised and normal activities can be resumed after acute symptoms pass. Also, care should be taken to prevent physical activities which are heavy in nature, and also hobbies or sports involving physical interactions should also be avoided. Care must also be made to avoid eating sweet things in excess for a few months.

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