Mono: the dreaded “kissing disease” that can ruin sport seasons, attendance records, and trap you at home for weeks.  Obviously, no one wants to be infected with mono, but the illness is very contagious and more common than you would think.  Did you know that almost everyone is affected by mono by the time they are an adult?

What is mono?

Mono, which is short for mononucleosis, is most often caused by the Epstein-Barr virus and is usually common in teenagers and young adults.

Symptoms of mono:

  • High fever
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Sore muscles
  • Sore throat
  • Enlarged spleen

How can I get mono?

The most common way to transfer the disease is through an exchange of saliva.  This includes kissing and sharing drinks, utensils, food, toothbrushes, and lip balm.  Since it takes four to six weeks for symptoms to occur, you should try not to ever share these things since many people have mono without knowing it.

If I think I have mono, what should I do?

If you have had any of the symptoms for a prolonged period of time, go see a doctor.  They will ask some questions and do a blood test to determine whether you have mono or any other type of illness.

I have mono: Now what?

Go home and rest up!  Mono usually lasts two to four weeks, but in some people symptoms can last for several more weeks.  Make sure to drink plenty of fluids and gargle with salt water if your throat is very sore.  Your doctor may also prescribe you some medication to take.  Follow your doctor’s instructions.

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