August 19, 2023

What Does Mono Mean?

Infectious mononucleosis, usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), but occasionally by cytomegalovirus (CMV). Often called "the kissing disease," this illness spreads through contact with an infected person's saliva. It can be spread by kissing, sharing cups or eating utensils, and sneezing or coughing on someone else. Children may also get it by sharing toys, straws, or toothbrushes that have the drool of an infected child on them.

Most people who have mono feel better within two to four weeks. But they can still feel tired for months afterward. A blood test can show if you have mono.

The cost of a mono test depends on your insurance coverage and where the test is performed. You should discuss the out-of-pocket costs with your health care provider before the procedure.

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and do a physical exam, including checking the glands in your neck and armpits. They will also check your spleen and liver, which are enlarged with mono.

The EBV that causes mono remains in your body for the rest of your life, even after you recover from the illness. It can reactivate, causing symptoms like fever and fatigue, at any time. This is rare, but it can lead to serious problems, such as a ruptured spleen or liver inflammation (hepatitis). Most people have mono only once in their lives. But it can happen again later in life if your immune system is weakened.


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