2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 03:30
Your teen drags his feet more than usual and keeps whining; a throbbing sore throat grips him. You smell mononucleosis. The doctor confirms: you were right.
A severe sore throat and a continuous, almost chronic and very heavy fatigue are the two main and first symptoms of mononucleosis, usually those that prompt you to consult a doctor. The lymph nodes gain substantially in size and so do the tonsils – to the point where these sometimes touch. These symptoms are usually accompanied by a high and persistent fever.
The “mono” virus (known since 1800, but it was then called glandular fever) most often attacks adolescents and young adults; the medical community still does not know why they are more vulnerable to it. “90% of adults have positive antibodies for the disease, but the majority will never be sick,” explains Dr. Julie Lalancette, a family doctor who works with the GMF (Family Medicine Group) in St-Eustache. We would also find positive antibodies in children from zero to five years old, but they are rarely sick from it,”she adds, stressing that it isIt is important to distinguish between the fact of defending oneself against a disease (having the antibodies in oneself, i.e. being infected) and being sick (then having the symptoms).
Contagious, but benign
As it is of viral origin, this illness of great fatigue is transmissible: being touched by a few drops of saliva or mucus from a person who is sneezing very close to you can be enough to transmit the virus, points out Dr. Lalancette. Closer contact – such as kissing – and blood transfusion can be relays of transmission. However, this risk is rarer. On the other hand, specifies the family doctor, “as the incubation period of the virus is one to two months, it is difficult to remember how one would have caught it”.
Three weeks after the onset of the first symptoms, there is also usually an increase in the size of the spleen: active people should stop exercising for about three weeks, in order to reduce the risk of blows which could cause rupture of the spleen.
Although very painful, mono still remains a benign illness. The disease can have serious consequences only for immunosuppressed people (those with AIDS or cancer, for example), says Dr. Lalancette.
There is no way to prevent mononucleosis. No treatment either to drive out the virus. In fact, it is a “support treatment”, mentions Dr. Lalancette. “Acetaminophen, to lower thefever, good hydration because patients are often poorly hydrated and sometimes also an analgesic for sore throat are recommended. »
Fever and sore throat usually last about a week, but fatigue can persist for up to three months. However, it is rather rare that it lasts this long: patients generally recover an acceptable level of energy after four weeks, points out Dr. Lalancette.
Doctors do not routinely suspend school for affected children. In fact, parents can decide to reduce the activities of their sick child according to their tolerance level. So, if the fatigue syndrome is too intense, your teen may spend half days at school, rather than whole days. Good communication with the school administration is therefore essential to avoid costly delays in the child's learning.
Finally, can we be struggling with “repeating monos”? "No," replies the doctor. Once you've had it, you're immune. The file is closed. »