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Could It Be Mono?

by Editorial Team November 14th, 2013 | Children's Health
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oral_thermometerAbout mid-September my fifteen year old daughter came downstairs to get ready for school.  Before eating breakfast, she mentioned that she had a sore throat and a headache.  Her eyes looked puffy, and she seemed a little paler than usual.  As she is a dedicated student, she balked at the idea of missing school.  I told her I would take her temperature, which would help decide what to do.  She had a fever of 100.5, and thus she needed to stay home.

She had less of an appetite that day and lacked energy.  The next morning she had similar symptoms.  If it had been a typical week, I would have waited another day or so before taking her to the doctor.  However, we had family staying with us, and I wanted to know what we were possibly exposing them to.  Upon describing her symptoms and being quickly looked at by the doctor, the following was stated, “I’m not a gambler, but if I were, I’d say you have mono.”

Imagine my surprise.  I thought my daughter had a run of the mill virus. As I had never dealt with mono prior to this, I learned a great amount from this.  Here are a few things to add to your knowledge base:

  • Mononucleosis is a viral illness.
  • A great number of people have contracted mono but have a mild version, which goes undiagnosed.  Thus, even though you are in close contact with someone who has mono, you may not contract it.
  • As with any contagious illness, be sure to uphold high sanitary standards.  Separate towels, cups, and other bathroom items are essential for the sick person.
  • Those who develop a diagnosable version of mono have contracted it anywhere from 1-6 weeks before symptoms appear.
  • Mono is diagnosed via bloodwork.  However, initial tests may be negative during the first seven days of symptoms being present.
  • There is no treatment or medication for mono.  Rest and fluids are important.
  • The typical case of mono lasts 4-6 weeks.
  • From the time of diagnosis, contact sports are to be avoided for 4 weeks, as the spleen is often enlarged.
  • Ibuprofen can be taken to reduce the swelling of glands and headaches.
  • Cough drops, warm beverages (such as tea), and broth can help with a sore throat.
  • Symptoms include swollen glands, puffy eyes, sore throat, nausea, and rash, among other items.

Thankfully for us, my daughter only missed two full weeks of school before returning for half days.  However, during that timeframe she did experience a handful of less common symptoms, such as hives.  Keeping in contact with her doctor was useful, as they notified the school of my daughter’s prolonged absence and reassured both she and I when she wasn’t feeling well.

To learn more about the symptoms, treatments, and complications of mono, visit the Mayo Clinic’s website.  I found this to be a valuable resource.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.