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What is Mononucleosis?

Mononucleosis is a condition that is caused by the infection of the Epstein–Barr Virus (EBV). This virus belongs to the herpes family of viruses. EBV and the infection can be transmitted through the exchange of saliva (kissing, sharing food and utensils) or even coughing, sneezing. Mononucleosis is also known by other names like mono, infectious mononucleosis, as well as the kissing disease.

This virus can be contagious when a person has recently been infected and the contagious mononucleosis can be passed on to another person.

Once the virus infects a person, it stays on, in the dormant state, in that person’s body, for the rest of their life. Over a period of time, it becomes less contagious. Therefore, if you have had mononucleosis it does not mean that you will always be contagious. In the initial stages of the infection, the symptoms of mononucleosis may not be evident and an infected person may not even be aware that he carries the virus. At this time the mono is contagious. It could take anywhere between 4 to 7 weeks, for the symptoms to appear in a person. Mononucleosis in adults may take even up to 8 weeks to detect. However, in children, this condition may go unnoticed or undetected, as they do not usually show the symptoms of mononucleosis. The common symptoms of mononucleosis, which are not usually a cause for concern, are headaches, fever, weakness, fatigue, loss in appetite, swollen tonsils and lymph nodes, skin rash, a sore throat and night sweats.

Mononucleosis usually runs its natural course in about 2 to 4 weeks, although for some people, it could last much longer. The treatment of mononucleosis may include medication that contains ibuprofen to reduce the fever and aches. The use of antibiotics in this condition is strongly discouraged, as they do not work well, on such viral infections. Even a doctor, would recommend that a patient deal with this condition just by getting a lot of bed rest, following a healthy and nutritious diet and drinking a lot of liquids. A gargle, made with warm water and salt can also be used a couple of times a day to soothe a sore throat.

What is Chronic Mononucleosis?

Most people who have suffered from infectious mononucleosis once do not get it again. However, in some people, mononucleosis may be recurrent and could show up repeatedly, weeks, months or even years later. This is known as chronic mononucleosis, which is more likely to occur in people with weak immune systems. The symptoms of chronic mononucleosis include swollen lymph glands, fatigue, sore throat and weakness. Unfortunately, these symptoms may come and go, leading to a period where the affected individual feels absolutely fine one day, only to suffer from a relapse as they try to recover and resume their normal day to day activities. In some rare cases, people may also be bedridden because of chronic mononucleosis. This condition can be extremely frustrating, as it eventually affects a person’s academic, professional, personal and social life. This further worsens the person’s health, as constant worry, loss of various educational and employment opportunities, feelings of being ill and social isolation continue to plague the person. Furthermore the future may seem uncertain, as they do not know when they will feel better. Fortunately, for a person suffering from chronic mononucleosis, there are a few natural therapies and lifestyle changes that can be made, to improve the health and quality of living. There are some books, support groups and online sources that can be of help to the patients as well as the families of those people who are suffering from chronic mononucleosis.
Submitted on September 2, 2011