In college, many students are diagnosed with mononucleosis, sometimes referred to as the kissing disease. Mono is extremely common with teenagers and young adults, which makes it a real terror on college campuses. In fact, one in every two hundred college students gets mono every year.
Mono is caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), an infection that takes control of specialized immune lymphocyte cells in your throat and makes it difficult for your body to fight off sickness. Symptoms of mono include swollen glands, sore throat, fever, and fatigue. Some will also experience headaches, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Unfortunately for us college students, our age group tends to get the more serious version of the disease.
The scariest part of mono is that you don’t know you have it during its most contagious stage. Symptoms don’t show up for four to six weeks after getting the virus, so it’s very easy to spread to other people. Because EBV is found in your mouth and throat, the virus is spread through saliva and can be spread through kissing and sharing drinks or eating utensils.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent getting mono. If your significant other or a friend you share drinks with has mono, they most likely don’t know it yet. There isn’t a vitamin or vaccine that will protect you from EBV, so you need to be aware of how to treat the virus if it enters your body.
- If you’re feeling fatigued, go to the doctor.
With classes, sports, clubs, and other activities it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish being tired and being sick. If you feel drained day after day, talk to your doctor and schedule an appointment.
- Avoid contact sports.
The mononucleosis can enlarge your spleen, which is very painful and dangerous. Avoiding contact sports for at least six weeks is crucial in letting your spleen heal and avoid rupturing.
- Don’t drink alcohol.
Mononucleosis also affects the liver, and drinking while having mono can lead to serious liver damage. Do yourself a favor and avoid the alcohol for a couple months.
- Get lots and lots of rest.
Fatigue can last months after you get other symptoms that make you feel sick, and the only cure for mono is sleep. Make sure you get at least 8 hours a day and listen to your body when it’s feeling tired. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself.
Mono sucks, but if you follow these tips you should be healthy before you know it!
By Morgan Chamberlain