Mono (Mononucleosis)

An infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, usually occurring only once in a person's lifetime, often during the teen or college years, which causes a person to become extremely tired.

How you get it

It used to be known as the "kissing disease." However, we now know there are various other ways to acquire mono. When you are tired from a busy lifestyle or little sleep, you are more susceptible to the infection. You may acquire it by sharing a drink, so avoid passing around sports drinks at athletic events. Scientists have still not figured out exactly how mono is transmitted.

Symptoms

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Swelling of lymph nodes in the neck
  • Headaches
  • Severe sore throat
  • A swollen liver or spleen
  • Skin rash
  • Fever

If you notice these symptoms, avoid most physical activity until you see a doctor.

Diagnosis

A physical exam and blood test.

Treatment

  • Rest, rest and more rest
  • A well-balanced meal three times a day
  • Avoid exercise.

Avoid activities that involve impact.

If bumped, a swollen spleen can rupture, requiring emergency surgery. If you don't get to the hospital quickly enough, you could bleed to death. So follow the doc's instructions!

Mono could put you out for a week or it could put you out for months, depending on the individual. As a good rule, give yourself more rest than you think you need.

If you resume activities too soon, you could be compromising your recovery, causing symptoms to return, during a "relapse". Make sure the mono is long gone before you start training or exercising again. Unfortunately mono usually occurs when your life is busy and when you can't afford to be sick (for example, those times when you're cramming for exams or training hard during a sports season). At these times, your body is fatigued and more susceptible to the infection. Because of the activities you miss out on while recovering from mono, it can be tempting to return to normal activities too soon. If you do, you'll most likely experience a relapse, and will be out of commission longer than you would have been had you rested longer in the first place. So once you're feeling better, give yourself some extra time to take it easy. When you resume activities, ease into a busier schedule. Don't expect to be able to handle the original schedule you had before acquiring the infection.

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Related Info

Sleep

Spleen