If you contract mononucleosis, or "mono" you might be out for weeks recovering, missing your day-to-day activities in the process.
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Rebecca Fox: You may have called it the kissing disease and yes kissing is one way to spread infectious mononucleosis or mono. Welcome to icyou on topic. If you can track mononucleosis you might be out for weeks recovering, missing your day-to-day activities in the process. So to help you minimize the risk of mononucleosis, icyou's Medical Editor Dr. Mona Khanna joins us now and Dr. Mona what is mononucleosis? Dr. Mona Khanna: Well, believe it or not Rebecca in my time we used to have people who wore it like the badge of pride if they have mononucleosis because it meant they were intimate with somebody, but that's one of the ways that you can actually get mono is by kissing, especially deep kissing because it spread that way. Mononucleosis is caused by a virus, the virus is called the Epstein-Barr virus. Now many of us have been infected with the Epstein-Barr virus in one way or another, but not all of us have the consequences of developing mono because a trigger is needed to do that. Mono is spread from person to person, again intimate contact, its spread through water droplets or saliva droplets et cetera and the reason that it is -- it can't be quite -- it can affect somebody a lot is because they can lead to a person missing school for a large amount of time because it usually happens to college students or high school students. Rebecca Fox: So what are signs and symptoms of mononucleosis? Dr. Mona Khanna: Well, believe it or not the first and most prevalent sign is going to be overwhelming sense of fatigue, you just can't get through the day, you can't get your work done. And you don't really know why it is because of the party the night before or is it because you slept in too long. They are just something just doesn't seem to be quite right. The other very classic and tell-tell sign is you might feel lumps right here in your throat, this is the cervical lymph nodes and our lymph nodes of course when they swell up it's our bodies way of telling there is something wrong or some kind of infection or there is an inflammation. So swelling of the lymph nodes here and just overwhelming sense of fatigue may or may not have a fever. Rebecca Fox: I got the deep kissing part, but what are some of the risk factor that people should be aware of? Dr. Mona Khanna: Well, really the way you transmit mono and the way you get it is an infection is through the spreading of those droplets. So it's very uncommon for somebody to be able to get it and say well I haven't really had close contacts with someone because and you have to take a better history from that person. It's really the intimate contact; it's really being exposed to those droplets. Now there have not technically been reported cases of somebody getting it through infection with droplets from sneezing or coughing or anything like that, but from a technical standpoint I supposed is possible. Rebecca Fox: Okay. What is the treatment like for mono and what's the prognosis? Dr. Mona Khanna: The best thing that we can do for patients who have mono really is to support them, provide supportive care and often times need rest. I have had patients who have to take a semester or too off school and then they have been behind for a year and it's just -- they didn't do anything wrong. Drink a lot of fluids, avoid contact sports, the reason that is so important is because in some cases our organ called the spleen tends to swell up in some cases of mono and if you play contact sports football, volleyball et cetera where you can get hit that spleen can rupture. So we ask our patients who have mononucleosis to avoid contact sports, so that doesn't happen, but mostly it's really supportive care. It's taking the time off you need to recover, just drinking a lot of fluids, if you have a fever trying to bring the fever down, you can Tylenol for that. No specific treatment and certainly no antibiotics because remember antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, mono is a viral infection. Rebe