Mono In Teens

mononucleosis check-up

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

What Is Mono?

Mononucleosis is a common disease across the world. It is usually caused by infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) although other viruses have been known to produce similar symptoms. EBV is so common that an estimated 95% of the global population is believed to have come into contact with it and been infected by it. Because of the ubiquity of this virus, most of us acquire the infection fairly early in life.

While some people develop an illness called mononucleosis as a result of the infection, in other people, the virus remains dormant without causing any symptoms. However, this disease is rarely life-threatening. It is more likely to affect adolescents and young adults than young children or older adults.

Incidence is estimated at about 6-8 individuals per 1000 every year among those between the ages of 10 and 19. On either side of this age spectrum, the incidence is markedly lower, roughly 1 case per 1000 persons per year. However, the prevalence of this disease may, in fact, be higher than acknowledged among children because mild cases often go unrecognized.

 

What Is Mono In Teens?

mono in teensMononucleosis is a common illness caused by a viral infection and produces symptoms such as fever, skin rashes, enlarged lymph nodes and an enlarged spleen. It can occur at any time of the year. Usually, this disease appears as a result of primary infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). A primary infection refers to the first time that a person is infected with the pathogen.

In individuals with robust immunity, the virus may well fail to produce any symptoms and remain dormant following infection. However, if this person’s immunity is drastically compromised later in life, he or she may develop mononucleosis then.

Infants rarely suffer from mononucleosis even after acquiring the infection. This may be because they are protected by the immunity conferred by antibodies acquired from their mothers. Infection during childhood normally manifests with only mild symptoms. However, if primary infection occurs in adolescence, as many as 35-50% cases will develop into illness with more pronounced symptoms. Typically, the illness runs its course with the space of a month or two, with the acute stage generally lasting no longer than a few weeks.

 

What Causes Mono In Teens?

Mononucleosis is a contagious disease and can be acquired by contact with the body fluids of an infected person. The most common mode of transmission between humans is through saliva. This is why the illness is commonly referred to as ‘kissing disease’. However, it can also spread via blood and semen. Therefore, sexual contact with an infected person or receiving blood or an organ transplant from them are all possible modes of contracting the infection. A person is most contagious during the acute stage of mononucleosis, particularly when he or she has the fever. While EBV is the most commonly implicated pathogen, another virus known as the cytomegalovirus is also known to produce similar symptoms.

 

What Are The Symptoms?

Mono EBVThe incubation period of the virus following primary infection lasts between four to eight weeks. Mononucleosis affects different age groups slightly differently. For instance, young children will usually show mild and nonspecific flu-like symptoms. Among adolescents, it is more likely to present with a sore throat, palatal petechiae and enlarged tonsils and lymph glands. In adults, liver-related complications such as hepatitis and jaundice are known to develop in severe instances. The list below includes symptoms typically observed in teenaged patients of mononucleosis:

  • Fever.
  • Chills.
  • A headache.
  • A sore throat.
  • Pharyngitis.
  • Small red spots clustered together on the soft palate. These are known as palatal petechiae and appear as result of the rupture of fine blood capillaries.
  • Severe fatigue.
  • Swollen lymph glands, usually in the neck. There may be similar swellings in the groin and armpit as well.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Swelling of the spleen.

 

What Are The Possible Complications?

Secondary infections such as streptococcal throat infection, sinusitis and tonsillitis are common. In fact, a majority of adolescent patients present with a sore throat as a result of such secondary infection. Immunocompromised patients may have more severe symptoms. This includes individuals with HIV or those who have been taking immunosuppressant medications.

Patients with enlargement of the spleen should be particularly careful to avoid contact sports or vigorous physical activity. If the swollen spleen ruptures, it could be fatal. Acute myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscles) and serious upper airway obstruction are other possible complications but these are uncommon.

Once a person has contracted an EBV infection, it remains for life. Having this infection is associated with an elevated risk of developing a number of other very serious medical conditions later in life. This includes autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus and multiple sclerosis. It is also associated with an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer such as Burkitt lymphoma.

 

Diagnosing Mono In Teens

mononucleosis check-upMononucleosis is most common among teenagers and young adults. Hence, the physician might be able to guess the cause of illness upon presentation of symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes and pharyngitis along with fever in a teenaged patient. Certain diagnostic tests would be needed to confirm this suspicion.

A complete blood count (CBC) reveals the presence of an infection in the body. This would be followed by a mono spot test which confirms whether the pathogen is, in fact, the EBV. This virus has typical markers or antigens. Once it has infected a person, their immune system will normally create special antibodies to correlate with the specific antigens of the virus. These antibodies bind themselves to antigens of the virus and effectively disable it. The spot test works by detecting the presence of these antibodies in the blood. While most individuals will have these antibodies as a result of past exposure to the virus, those suffering an ongoing case of infectious mononucleosis will show especially high levels of antibodies in their blood. Liver function testing, another series of blood tests, may also be necessary. A swollen spleen, if present, may have to be examined by means of imaging tests.

 

Treatment and prevention

Treatment – as mono is a viral infection, there is no specific antibiotic to treat it. But there are medications to treat the secondary side effects of mono.

  • Secondary side effects – the chances of developing bacterial infections like tonsillitis and strep when the mononucleosis virus is present in your body is common. Antibiotics to cure these bacterial infections will be prescribed by the doctor.
  • Risks of rash with medications – certain antibiotics tend to cause a rash. These rashes are not necessarily allergies. Other antibiotics could be taken as a substitute to aid in recovery.

Preventions

  • Avoid close contact among children. As it tends to spread faster among them, due to their developing immune systems.
  • Make sure to wash your hands well and often so as to reduce the risk of getting or spreading mono.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Keep yourself hydrated. The increased levels of night sweat and sever throat swelling; it can make it difficult for your body to hold on to nutrients. Keeping yourself hydrated helps get rid of mono faster.
  • Have clean food. No processed, canned, junk or soda. Having soup and vegetables gives your body the required nutrients that are lacking.
  • Throw away all germ holders. Anything that can retain germs like chapstick, toothbrush etc. need to be disposed of. As they tend to prolong the recovery process.
Don'ts
  • Exert your body. Make sure that you take adequate rest.
  • As exercising could worsen the condition of your spleen.
  • Indulge in close contact.

 

 

 

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liver biopsy procedure
Liver Biopsy Liver biopsy or hepatic biopsy is a diagnostic tool that collects a sample of live tissue from the…
GERD heartburn
Heartburn: What are the exact symptoms and the best home remedies? There are easy home remedies for heartburn, which not only acts as a first aid when you experience…
How seitan proved to be a blessing in disguise for vegans worldwide Can only meat-eaters enjoy delicious juicy steaks and burgers? With seitan, the best meat substitute available today,even vegans…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
kidney stones
Kidney stones Kidney stones are solid substances made up of crystals. They can be of various sizes. Treatment depend on…
free psa test
Free PSA Test The free PSA test is used to detect the level or percentage of free PSA in the body…
Experts reveal the safest ways to perform an enema at home The idea of pushing some up your rectal area might make you queasy but an enema could actually…
Urologist: When should you visit one and why? A urologist can treat not only genitourinary problems of both men and women but also can treat various…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
Rubella IgM test
Rubella IgM Test The Rubella IgM test is a blood test that is performed to diagnose the presence of the rubella…
6 arguments in favour of glucosamine and where can you find it Studies have shown that glucosamine works by preventing the breakdown of cartilage of the joints. This is usually…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
Miracle extract from the root of maca: 10 ways it can help you! Maca root has been used for years in herbal medicine. Today scientific research is unearthing fresh evidence in…
lipase test
Lipase Test A lipase test is a blood test performed to quantitatively measure the level of the enzyme lipase in…
Diabetes blood test
Diabetic Profile The diabetic profile is a set of tests used for testing and monitoring the various kinds of Diabetes…
Lauric Acid: 8 health benefits you can derive from coconuts Appropriate use of saturated fats containing lauric acid can provide you numerous health benefits. This is the main…
kshar sutra
Kshar sutra treatment for piles, fissures and fistula Read to know the benefits and side effects of kshar sutra to treat anal piles, fissures, and fistula…
superfoods quinoa probiotics
10 fantastic Superfoods you need to include in your diet from today! What exactly are superfoods and how do they battle diseases? From losing weight to looking ravishing- these superfoods…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
creatinine
Creatinine Test The level of creatinine in the blood is a significant indicator of the health of your kidneys. This…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
Pelvic_ultrasound
Pelvic Ultrasound Pelvic ultrasound is a process where sound waves are used to create image of your pelvic region organs…

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