What Is Infectious mononucleosis?
Also, commonly known as the “kissing disease” or glandular fever, infectious mononucleosis or “mono” is a contagious infection that is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The EBV belong s to the herpes virus family.
Mononucleosis is the condition when there is an increase of lymphocytes or mononuclear white blood cells in the bloodstream when compared to other types of WBCs, due to viral infection. The virus usually spreads via saliva and the incubation period is around 4-8 weeks and the disease usually occurs in teenagers and young adults. Although this can also affect children, the condition is less severe in young children.
The people who are at a higher risk of contracting infectious mononucleosis are:
- Young adults between the ages 15-24
- Medical interns
- People with weakened immune systems or on medication that suppress immunity
Once you get mono, you are not likely to get it again in your life since the body becomes immune to mono for the rest of your life. Most times, mono cases are very mild can be cured with very minimal treatment and the infection is usually not serious and goes away on its own in 1-2 months.
What Are The Symptoms Of Infectious mononucleosis?
The symptoms of infectious mononucleosis are:
The initial symptoms of infectious mononucleosis are:
- General malaise or lack of energy
- Loss of appetite
The more intense symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Fever, fatigue, muscle weakness
- Headaches, night sweating
- Swollen lymph nodes in neck and armpits (lymphadenopathy)
- Inflamed tonsils and throat
- Tonsils have a whitish coating
- Spleen becomes swollen or enlarged
- Enlarged liver
- Splotchy red rash over the body (which look like measles rash)
- Temporary swelling or edema of both the upper eyelids
What Are The Causes Of Infectious mononucleosis?
The common causes and spread of infectious mononucleosis are:
- Direct contact with the saliva or body fluids of a person suffering from infectious mononucleosis.
- Coughing and sneezing.
- Sharing food and drinks with an infected person.
- Using contaminated items such as toothbrushes, drinking glasses, cutlery, etc.
- Kissing an infected person.
- Sexual contact.
- Organ transplant.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Infectious mononucleosis?
- Gargle with warm salt water to soothe your sore throat.
- Get lots of rest. This will help your body to recuperate and heal faster.
- Drink plenty of warm water and liquids to stay hydrated and calm the irritated throat.
- Practice good hygiene and wash your hands regularly with antibacterial soap.
- Have 4-6 small meals spread throughout the day instead of three large ones as this could overload your digestive system, lead to digestive problems and aggravate the symptoms of mono.
- Avoid anxiety and stress and avoid overworking yourself.
- Avoid excessive sports, exercise or heavy lifting if you are suffering from mono as heavy physical activities can cause damage to the spleen.
- Use cough drops or some hard candy to moisten your throat. This can help to relieve inflammation and throat irritation.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Infectious mononucleosis?
- Mono is contagious, so avoid close contact with people who are infected.
- Avoid sharing personal items with people suffering from infectious mononucleosis.
- Avoid kissing or sexual relationship with those suffering from mono.
What Are The Best Foods For Infectious mononucleosis?
- Drink a lot of fluids throughout the day. Have around 8 glasses of water and apart from this you can also have fluids like clear soup, fruit juice, vegetable soup, herbal tea, barley water, coconut water, etc. at regular intervals.
- Eat antioxidant-rich foods like peppers, fruits like tomatoes, cherries, blueberries and green leafy veggies as they help to reduce the symptoms of mono and also strengthen the immune system.
- Eat foods that boost the immune system like whole grains and cereals like brown rice, wheat pasta, etc., eggs, seafood, vegetables such as kale, spinach, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes and other leafy green vegetables and fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries, etc.
- Eat sea-foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that have inflammatory properties like tuna, salmon, mackerel, etc.
What Are The Worst Foods For Infectious mononucleosis?
- Eliminate processed, junk food, fried foods and foods high in sodium like chips, French fries, cakes, pastries, hot dogs, burgers, etc. if you are suffering from mono as they can aggravate the symptoms.
- Avoid refined, sugary foods and beverages like sugar, white bread, colas, aerated drinks, candy, jelly, etc. as they worsen the condition of mono.
- Avoid eating red meat as they make the symptoms of mono worse.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee, energy drinks, etc. as they make the symptoms of infectious mononucleosis worse.
- Avoid drinking alcohol when you have a mono infection as studies reveal that alcohol has bad effects on people with this condition.
What Are The Medicines For Infectious mononucleosis?
What Are The Tips To Manage Infectious mononucleosis?
- Stress aggravates our immune system and makes it vulnerable to infections. So, reducing stress can help to prevent virus infections such as infectious mononucleosis. Also, if you are suffering from mono, using calming techniques like meditation and breathing techniques can help to relieve anxiety and stress and help you get better quickly.
- Supplements are believed to help when you are suffering from infectious mononucleosis.
- Probiotic supplements can help to boost the immune system and also digestive health and help the symptoms of mono. However, if you are taking drugs that suppress your immune system, then check with your doctor before taking probiotic supplements.
- There are many herbs and herbal supplements that can help to strengthen the immune system and may help the condition of mono.
- You can drink tea made of green tea (Camellia sinensis), as it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune boosting properties.
- Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) can be taken as it helps to strengthen your immune system.
- Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is known to kill viruses and it can help to fight infectious mononucleosis.
- Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is known to fight against diseases and may be helpful for the condition of infectious mononucleosis.
- However, if are taking any medications like diuretics, blood thinners, medication for high blood pressure, etc. for any other medical conditions or you are suffering from autoimmune diseases, then you should check with your doctor before taking any herbal supplements as these can interfere with the other medications or worsen your health condition.