What is Mononucleosis?

Mononucleosis, also known simply as “mono” is a common infectious disease that is typically caused by the Epstein Barr virus.

Mono is most often found in teens or young adults, such as college age students. Young children also can get mono, but symptoms are much milder and may go unnoticed. As children grow older, they usually build-up antibodies to the disease and develop an immunity as they become adults.

Mono is primarily spread through the transmission of bodily fluids, such as mucus or saliva. For this reason mono is also given another name, “the kissing disease,” although it can also be spread by sharing items such as drinking glasses, utensils, or toothbrushes.

Symptoms of mononucleosis include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headaches
  • Rash
  • Swollen liver and / or spleen

Symptoms of mono first appear four to six weeks after being exposed. Most symptoms last two to four weeks, but some symptoms, such as fatigue, or swollen spleen or liver can last for months.

There is no vaccine to prevent and no medicine to treat mononucleosis. Self-care treatment methods, such as getting plenty of rest, consuming liquids and taking pain / fever medications are all that is usually needed. Gargling with salt water and taking lozenges are also recommended to soothe a sore throat. It is also advised to avoid contact sports and heavy lifting to avoid further damage to your spleen or liver.

If your child is experiencing symptoms that are consistent with mononucleosis, it is recommended that you see your doctor, who can confirm a diagnosis or rule out other causes for your symptoms by ordering a blood test.

If you do not have a doctor, Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center has many dedicated physicians. To make an appointment, please call 718-670-8939.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.