New drug treatments may be in the works to fight the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) that causes mononucleosis (mono). Until then, learn how to protect you and your children with some traditional methods.
Check out the latest news about the Epstein-Barr virus, while brushing up on your defense tactics against mono.
Facts about Mononucleosis
Read the latest research. Researchers have recently discovered new details about how the Epstein-Barr virus tricks human cells into helping it replicate. These findings could be useful for developing new drugs for treating mono and other conditions that the virus causes, including certain cancers.
Learn about the Epstein-Barr virus. The Epstein-Barr virus is a type of herpes virus that’s extremely common. The CDC estimates that 95% of adults have antibodies for EBV from being infected now or when they were growing up.
Spot the symptoms. While symptoms of mono are often very mild for children, people who are older are likely to feel very tired. You may also have a fever, sore throat, and body aches. Other signs include swelling in the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen.
Become familiar with the timeline. You may have heard about outbreaks of mono in high schools and on college campuses. Cases of mono occur most often between the ages of 15 and 25. Most people feel much better within a few weeks, but the symptoms can sometimes persist much longer or return again in the future.
- Manage stress. Hectic schedules and emotional conflicts leave you more vulnerable to infections. Budget your time and build a strong support network. Find ways to relax and stay fit.
- Limit sharing. Mono has been called the kissing disease, but it can be transferred anytime you come into contact with saliva. Avoid using someone else’s water bottle or lip gloss. Turn away when someone sneezes or coughs.
- Wash your hands. Keeping your hands clean and off your face protects you from all kinds of infections. Keep hand sanitizer on your desk and carry a small bottle with you.
Recovering from Mononucleosis
- See your doctor. The symptoms of mono can easily be mistaken for flu or strep throat. Your doctor can tell for sure by doing a rapid strep test or throat culture.
Rest up. Bed rest will give your body time to recover. Get as much sleep as possible. Cut back on strenuous physical activities until your energy levels are back to normal.
Drink fluids. It’s important to drink water, even if your throat hurts when you swallow. Small and frequent sips can protect you from becoming dehydrated. You may find that warm beverages are more soothing. However, some people prefer to suck on ice chips.
Take pain relievers. Ibuprofen provides relief from body aches and inflammation. Due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome, experts caution against giving aspirin to children or teenagers recovering from flu-like symptoms. Consult your physician if you have any questions.
Take a break from contact sports. You may want to give up football for a while. An enlarged spleen can rupture under pressure.
Watch for complications. Although most people make a full recovery from mono, rare complications, which include swelling in the brain or spinal cord, can be very serious. Follow your doctor’s recommendations to manage these issues and monitor any effects on your spleen, liver, or blood.
Strengthening your immune system can help protect you against the Epstein-Barr virus and any other infectious diseases. If you or your child contract mono, adequate rest will reduce the risk of complications and keep you more comfortable while the condition runs its course.