Dr. Bob Arnot discusses Mononucleosis, otherwise known as "The Kissing Disease", tips for avoidance, and how to treat the symtoms.
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I am Dr. Bod Arnot. When I was growing up mononucleosis was known as the kissing disease. Well it turns out, that the old advice is actually true, unlike the common cold which is easily spread from person to person mononucleosis requires the exchange of saliva, such as through kissing. Now, otherwise, this can be spread through sharing food or through coughing and that is the reason that teenagers and college students are at such high risk because some of them are in close proximity in such large numbers. Now, how do you know whether you actually have mononucleosis or not, as it turns out it is not easy to tell. Mononucleosis is also known as mano, it is a little tricky because the symptoms can sometimes very mild and easily confused with a cold or other respiratory ailment. The first thing we look for extreme fatigue, usually in combination with a sore throat, fever, and swollen glands or spleen. Some other things that can also take you of are a loss of appetite, muscle and abdominal pain, and sometimes an unusual skin rash. If your child is feeling runned down and has even just a very mild version of any of these symptoms, you want to bring the man so we can give them a blood test to confirm the diagnosis. There is no treatment per se, mano usually just runs its course in two to three weeks, still it is important to take the necessary precautions to keep them from spreading to other people and to keep complications from developing. All mano patients need to drink a lot of fluids and get a lot of bed rest. Gargling with warm salt water will also help with sore throat pain and you can use Tylenol for the aches and fever. Aspirin is not recommended because young people who would take it have a heightened risk of developing a rare but deadly condition known as Reye’s syndrome. The patients will also need to stay out of close contact with other people and refrain from sharing food until they are feeling 100% better. They can gradually resume normal activity as they feel up to it but they really need to avoid contact sports for at least a month after complete recovery, that is because an enlarged spleen is at greater risk of rupturing which can cause serious problems.