Could your sore throat be more than just a common cold? You may have not known that mono is more common than you think. In fact, some of the symptoms of mono in adults are so similar to those of the common cold that people might not even be aware that they have mono.
Mono is the result of a virus called Epstein-Barr.
EBV is part of the herpes virus family. Mono is spread by human contact. However, the most common form of transmitting the virus is via saliva. Kissing, drinking out of the same glass, or sharing cutlery are all common methods of how mono is spread. In fact, kissing is such a common way to spread the virus that it is nicknamed the “kissing disease”. Therefore, it is important that you avoid sharing saliva with anyone who has mono. In less common cases, it is possible to spread the disease by sneezing or coughing. Tiny water droplets from the infected individual can be breathed in by others.
Over ninety percent of adults are found with mono antibodies in the blood. The presence of mono antibodies indicates that the individual has already been infected with mono in the past.
Most children who are infected with mono don’t show any signs of symptoms at all. In fact, only 10% of children who are infected with the virus result in illness. The symptoms in children are often more mild and replicate symptoms of the common cold. This results in the illness not being diagnosed as mono in most cases. Mono most commonly affects the age group of people in their teens to mid-twenties.
Research has shown that individuals will likely still spread the virus weeks after the infection has ended. For some, the virus can be spread years after one has recovered from mono. This occurs when the virus “reactivates” itself and the virus can be found in the saliva of the individual. Even those who were asymptomatic to the virus can still spread the virus, making it difficult to isolate these individuals.
Symptoms of mono can be similar to a common cold. The top 9 symptoms are
1. Malaise or low energy
4. Reduced appetite
5. Sore throat
6. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck region
7. Reddening in the tonsils and throat
8. White splotches on tonsils
9. Swollen spleen (splenomegaly)
Approximately half of those infected with mononucleosis will experience an enlarged spleen. The spleen is an organ located in the upper left abdominal area and it contains the most lymphoid tissues in the body. Enlarged spleens can be detected by confirming whether or not antibodies to viral capsid antigen are found in the body via a blood test. This same test can also confirm if the individual has been exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). About a third of those infected with mononucleosis have whit splotches on their tonsils and another 5% may experience a red rash all over their body.
Common symptoms of mono in adults include:
- lack of appetite
- and decreased energy.
During the first few days, individuals infected with the EBV virus may also experience swelling in the eyelids (edema).
Rare complications involving mono include inflammation in the body (including the sac around the heart, the heart muscle, and the brain). Another rare complication includes the destruction of red blood cells and cancer in individuals who have compromised immune systems like AIDS.
Doctors can diagnose mono by ruling out other possible causes of the symptoms, such as strep throat. In early infections, blood tests may indicate a higher than usual amount of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) in the body. More specific blood tests can detect if antibodies of the EBV virus are in the body. However, the antibodies may not be detected until a few weeks after the body has been infected with the virus.
Typically, there is no specific treatment of mono. The infection usually runs its course and will clear on its own. The use of medication may also result in negative side effects such as rashes. Those experiencing fever symptoms may find comfort in taking some Tylenol (acetaminophen).
It is easiest to avoid mono by practicing good hygiene and avoiding those who have the virus. Unfortunately, it may not always be easy because some people with the virus are asymptomatic. This infection is self-limited and generally clears on its own. Symptoms of mono in adults should be under the watch of their family doctor to monitor the possibility of some of the rare conditions associated with it.
Mono Symptoms – What is Mononucleosis? YouTube video