Mononucleosis, also referred to as mono, is an infectious disease caused by a virus. Often dubbed the kissing disease, the virus passes from person to person after contact with infected saliva or mucus. Treatment for the virus include rest, fluids and over-the-counter pain relievers. The initial signs and symptoms associated with this condition mimic many other viruses. Individuals begin to exhibit symptoms four to six weeks after exposure, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Initial symptoms of mononucleosis include a sore throat that worsens over a few days. White patches may cover the tonsils, according to Medline Plus. The sore throat symptoms may mimic a bacterial strep throat infection, but antibiotics will not improve the condition.
A low-grade fever may accompany the mono virus. Treating the fever with medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen helps provide comfort. The fever associated with the virus generally lasts 10 days or less. A fever greater than 101.5 degrees F that does not respond to medication needs evaluation by a physician.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes are glands found in various locations in the body. The purpose of lymph nodes is to assist the immune system in filtering foreign objects in the body, such as a virus. During a mono infection, the lymph nodes in the neck are often swollen and tender. This swelling may last for up to a month.
Fatigue is the most likely debilitating symptom associated with mono. The fatigue can last for several months following the initial infection.
Muscular Weakness and Pain
A generalized muscular ache and weakness occur in individuals with mononucleosis. The muscles may also feel stiffer than usual.
Along with a generalized unwell feeling, individuals may experience a loss of appetite. Encouraging fluids to prevent dehydration is important, especially with the decreased food intake.
The spleen, located in the upper left area of the abdomen, might become enlarged and tender with the mononucleosis virus as it assists in fighting the virus. A physician can feel the swollen spleen when pressing on the abdomen. Rest is important to prevent the rupture of this organ. Generally, the spleen returns to normal size within four weeks.
A pink rash may develop on the body with a mono infection. This rash resembles a measles rash. Prescribing unneeded antibiotics to treat a throat infection increases the likelihood of developing the rash.