Most symptoms of infectious mononucleosis usually surface 4-6 weeks after you get infected with EBV. They may develop slowly and not all will occur at the same time.
Occasionally in severe cases, your liver or spleen may also swell, but mononucleosis is rarely fatal. For some people, their liver or spleen or even both may remain swollen even after their fatigue ends. Most cases of mononucleosis are mild and resolve in 2-4 weeks. However, some people may still feel fatigued for another month or so and occasionally the symptoms can last 6 months or longer.
Infectious mononucleosis is usually caused by EBV, which is spread through direct contact with saliva from an infected person’s mouth, which explains the nickname “kissing disease”. It can also be spread through coughing or sneezing or sharing food and drinks and personal items with an infected person.
Mononucleosis can also be spread through sexual intercourse and blood transfusions, although this is a lot less common.
Anyone can get mono since it’s a condition spreadable by saliva contact, but if you fall into the following groups, you have a higher risk:
The above are just common examples but generally, anyone who comes into close contact with large groups of people regularly are at an increased risk for mono — which explains why students are considered an at-risk group.
Infectious mononucleosis is usually easily diagnosed based on symptoms and other factors — are you 15-25 years of age? Have you been in contact with anyone who has mono? Are you experiencing fever, sore throat and swollen glands? Besides taking your temperature, the ENT specialist will also do a physical test and check your neck, armpits and groin and your upper left stomach to see if your spleen is enlarged.
While lab tests are usually not necessary to diagnose mono, specific tests like blood work may be done to determine how severe your illness is and identify the cause of your illness.
Patients who have mono due to EBV typically show:
There is no specific treatment for mono as symptoms usually resolve on their own, but patients are usually advised to take medication for pain and fever or prescribed corticosteroids to reduce tonsil and throat swelling.
If you have questions or concerns about your ears, nose, and throat,you may book a consultation with Dr Dennis Chua, an ENT specialist in Singapore.He has completed his training in otorhinolaryngology locally and attained qualifications internationally.