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5 Facts About Mono

October 8, 2012

Sick in bed

Mononucleosis is one of the most common college ailments, and while it’s called the “kissing disease,” it can be transmitted other ways too.  This contagious virus knocks you down and can keep you down for longer than you might think.  Time to get the facts.  The following are five things that you should know about mono.

1. You don’t have to kiss to get the kissing disease
Mono spreads to others through saliva, so its title as the kissing disease seems fitting.  However, you can also easily catch it other ways too.  You can get mono from sharing things like utensils, cups, straws, and towels.  It’s sometimes even possible to catch it from exposure to an infected person’s coughs and sneezes.

2. Symptoms can mimic the flu
Mono has many symptoms, and when you look at them together, it can seem a lot like the flu.  You can experience swollen glands, muscle aches, headaches, abdominal pain, sore throat, loss of appetite, and extreme fatigue.  So even if you think you might just have a bad case of the flu, it’s important to go to the doctor to be sure.

3. You’ll need a quick blood test for diagnosis
To diagnose mono, a special kind of blood test called the monospot test is required.  Because of this, it’s important to go to your health center or doctor to see if they recommend you to get this test.  Getting the proper diagnosis when you’re sick is important so that you can get the proper recovery plan.

4. There are important measures to take to recover
When diagnosed with mono, there isn’t much that can be done in the way of medicine, but you will be advised to follow some steps to help you get better.  Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and avoid caffeine.  It’s also important to refrain from drinking alcohol to allow your liver function to go back to normal.  With mono, you’ll definitely need plenty of sleep; at least 10 hours per night is recommended.  While you don’t have to be completely bedridden when you have mono, you shouldn’t participate in strenuous exercise or any contact sports.  With mono, your spleen could be enlarged, and doing contact exercises could put you at risk for rupturing it.  The time for recovery varies, so it’s important to listen to your doctor, and only resume such activities after you are given the OK.

5. You can lower your risk
The good news is that there are some ways to help lower your risk of catching mono.  Exercising regularly and eating well are always great habits to keep, but they are also essential for good sickness prevention.  It’s all about strengthening your immune system.  Also, be sure to keep good hygiene and not to share things like drinks with your friends.  Symptoms of mono can take a little time to appear, so someone can be infected and not even know it.  Listen to your body when it needs rest, and be sure to visit your college health center if you start displaying any symptoms.

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