You’re thirsty. Your friend has a bottle of Gatorade, and you drink from it. It’s Valentine’s Day, and you are about to give your boyfriend or girlfriend a big kiss. Stop. You might contract mono.
Infectious mononucleosis, more commonly referred to as mono, is also known as the kissing disease, and around Valentine’s Day chances of contracting mono goes up with every kiss.
According to WebMD’s website, symptoms of mono consist of a severe sore throat, headaches and chills followed by a fever, severe fatigue, swollen lymph nodes and skin rashes.
Worst than that, however, a person’s spleen or liver can enlarge. When the spleen is enlarged, a rupture can occur from a direct hit to the abdomen, according to the PubMed Health’s website.
Romantic hardly seems the word to describe such an occurrence.
Mono is often associated with kissing because it is passed through saliva. Kissing is certainly risky, but so is sharing drinks or utensils that someone else has used, according to Mayo Clinic’s website.
“Mono is most common in college and high school students, but it can occur in younger children sometimes,” nurse Vickie Rogers said.
According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, most mono cases are caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is a member of the herpes virus family.
Though EBV can cause mono, it does not always, only in 35 to 50 percent of the cases. EBV, however, can lay dormant in a few cells throughout life, though mono itself will usually last one to two months as stated on the National Center for Infectious Disease’s website.
When the EBV virus becomes active after symptoms of mono have disappeared, no new symptoms will be present; however, the virus can spread to others during this time, according to WebMD’s website.
Rogers suggests many precautions in order to avoid infection. “Keep your hands washed, don’t share drinks, know who you are around and don’t kiss,” Rogers said.
Of all the symptoms, the hardest for teenagers to deal with is “probably the fatigue and long recovery,” Rogers said.
The danger of contracting the disease is emphasized by the habits of teenagers. “I got it from kissing and sharing drinks with someone,” junior Kitty Barnett said.
The symptoms last anywhere from a week to a few months. “I had a super sore throat, and it was hard to talk. It took me about a week and a half until it didn’t hurt anymore and about two weeks until everything went away,” Barnett said.
Few things can be done to speed the recovery process once the disease has been contracted “I don’t think you can make it pass through your system faster. The biggest key is to get plenty of rest and nutrition in order to prevent relapses,” Rogers said.
According to the WebMD’s website, the best ways to get better include bed-rest, drinking fluids, gargling saltwater and taking pain relievers to rid of some misery. Of course, following doctor’s orders is essential.