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Mono - Knowing the Signs

If you're so tired that you're missing school, sitting out from sports games and skipping parties, you could have mono - a disease that makes you sick and tired.

Mononucleosis - What is Mono?

Mononucleosis (mono) is a viral infection that causes sore throat, fever and enlarged lymph nodes (found in the throat, neck and armpit). It's caused either by the Epstein-Barr virus or cytomegalovirus (CMV) - both are found in the herpes family, which are responsible for cold sores and chickenpox. Mono is most commonly diagnosed in teens and young adults. It usually isn't very serious, but the virus stays in your body for life.

Mononucleosis - How is Mono Passed?

The mono virus is found in saliva and mucus, but isn't spread as easily as some other viruses like the common cold. Mono is often called the kissing disease cuz you can get it through smooching - but it's more frequently transmitted by coughing, sneezing or drinking from the same glass as an infected person. While it's fine to share snacks with your friends, stay on the safe side by drinking your own juice box and water bottle.

Mononucleosis - What Are the Symptoms?

Mono lasts about four weeks. You'll see the first symptoms develop about four to seven weeks after you've been exposed to the mono virus.

  • Sore throat.
  • White patches on the back of your throat.
  • Fever.
  • Extreme tiredness.
  • Sore muscles.
  • Enlargement of lymph nodes.
  • Enlarged spleen (the organ that filters your blood and produces antibodies to fight bacteria).
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, jaundice (when your skin turns yellow), severe headaches, chest pain and breathing difficulties can also occur.

Mononucleosis - How Do I Treat Mono?

Unfortunately, there's no cure for mono. The best and only way to treat it is to relieve your symptoms. Here's how...

  • Get plenty of bed rest.
  • Drink lots of fluids, especially water.
  • If you have a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water and eat popsicles!
  • Avoid any physical activity until your doctor says it's safe.

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