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Often referred to as mono, Mononucleosis is called the kissing disease because it is a viral infection that is transmitted by the way of saliva or mucus (even tears). While this does mean that you can contract it through kissing, there are a number of other ways by which you can get Mono. Although it is a common medical condition, it is not nearly as contagious as many other types of viral infections including the common cold.

Causes, Risk Factors and Complications ofMononucleosis

The cause of mononucleosis is the Epstein-Barr virus. Most people will develop antibodies for this virus overtime. However, younger individuals, such as teenagers or young adults, have not yet built them up, which makes them the most susceptible to developing mono. Mono symptoms do not always appear which allows the viral infection to go unnoticed. It is vitally essential to note that while the disease itself is rather innocuous, there are a number of complications that are significantly more serious associated with it. Some complications include: spleen enlargement, rupture of the spleen, hepatitis, jaundice and other liver issues, anemia, heart problems such as myocarditis, thrombocytopenia or a low platelet count, swollen tonsils, Meningitis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome and other nervous system complications. For those with weakened or impaired immune systems, these things are important to consider as Mono can cause much more damage to them. Because the complications associated with mononucleosis can be so severe, it is important that once diagnosed, this infection does not go untreated.

Signs, Symptoms and TestsofMononucleosis

There are a number of symptoms that are associated with the viral infection Mono. These include a general feeling of being unwell or malaise, fatigue, fever, swollen tonsils, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and the armpits, a soft or swollen spleen, a rash on the skin, headache and a sore throat that does not resolve itself with antibiotic use.

There are two different ways that a doctor may diagnose mononucleosis. The first is by way of an antibody test, and the second is a white blood cell count. The doctor will also perform a basic physical examination, looking for signs such as an enlarged spleen or swollen liver, swollen lymph nodes and swollen tonsils when making a diagnosis.

Treatment, Drugs and PreventionofMononucleosis

Antibiotics do not tend to work against mononucleosis, but there are other treatment options that should be considered. Because these medications are not effective, the medical condition can be diagnosed easily when treatment of the aforementioned sore throat and swollen tonsils do not occur with antibiotics. A doctor will prescribe drinking plenty of fluids and getting enough bed rest, likely in conjunction with corticosteroids and treatment for secondary infections. Some treatments are not recommended here, such as amoxicillin and other derivatives of penicillin, because they can cause rash in people who have mononucleosis. Corticosteroids will help to ease symptoms such as swelling and other medications will be prescribed to treat secondary infections to protect the health of vital organs such as the spleen and liver.