The symptoms of mono or infectious mononucleosis are often mistaken for strep throat. However, the two are not the same. The following are the symptoms of infectious mononucleosis.
Signs and Indicators
Children under five years of age may not show symptoms of mono. Older children and adults will exhibit the classic signs. These are sore throat, high fever and bloated glands at the neck or the groin.
The lymph nodes may be enlarged in the armpit. Other signs are fatigue, aching muscles and malaise. There is also loss of appetite.
Other accompanying symptoms of mono are nausea, headaches and pain in the stomach. If taking amoxicillin or ampicillin, rashes may develop. The other signs of mononucleosis are an enlarged liver or spleen, jaundice and joint pain without any accompanying swelling. Blood tests will show enlarged lymphocytes.
Treatment of Mono
The disease is caused by a virus, so treatments are aimed to relieve the symptoms only. Rest is recommended for patients. Usually, the major symptoms will disappear in a couple of weeks.
At this point, the patient can resume their activities. However, it is recommended that intense physical activities like sports should be avoided for a month to ensure full recovery.
Medications may be given to relieve the major symptoms. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen/paracetamol may be used to lower the fever.
If the symptoms of mono are accompanied by strep throat, antibiotics like penicillin may be used. Amoxicillin and ampicillin should not be taken; they will cause rashes to appear. This has been proven in numerous cases.
Cause and Spread
Infectious mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Most people contract it during childhood. The disease is spread by physical contact with other people. Saliva is the main form of transmission.
The infection may also be passed by way of sneezing or coughing. When a person sneezes or coughs, saliva is left in the atmosphere, which other people can inhale.
Other ways the disease is spread include using the same utensils or eating food from a single container. Not everyone who gets the EBV virus catches the mononucleosis infection.
Health complications are rare, taking place only in 5% of the cases. Some of the health complications include Guillain-Barré syndrome, encephalitis, meningitis and paraplegia. Some studies suggest the EBV may increase the risk for multiple sclerosis.
Other complications that have arisen from the disease are hepatitis, hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia), spleen rupture, myocarditis and pericarditis. The complications that result in hepatitis and ruptured spleens are very rare.
Although the illness is often not serious, knowing the symptoms of mono is still important so misdiagnosis can be avoided. With enough rest and the right medication, the illness should clear up in a few weeks.