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Glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis): Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis)

Infectious mononucleosis also known as ‘kissing disease’ - is an infection of viral origin. It is caused by Ebstein-Barr virus which belongs to the group of herpes virus. The clinical features of infectious mononucleosis, are vague and widespread. Furthermore, it is a self-limiting infection and occurs once in the lifetime of an individual.

Glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis): Incidence, age and sex

Infectious mononucleosis is an uncommon infection in the general population and may be seen in any age group. However, teenagers and young adults are more susceptible to this viral infection.

Signs and symptoms of glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis): Diagnosis

The common signs and symptoms of infectious mononucleosis include sore throat accompanied with swollen eyelids. The affected individual also experience high-fever along with headache and vague muscle pains. Other features like increased sweating and skin rash may appear later, in the course of disease. The skin rash is present all over the body but does not cause any itching.

A detailed physical examination may reveal enlarged lymph nodes in the neck region. Examination of throat shows the presence of white membranous covering on the tonsils, in some individuals. Furthermore, progressive stage of disease may lead to the enlargement of an abdominal organ named the spleen which may be detected by palpating the abdomen. Infectious mononucleosis can be diagnosed by clinical findings. Tests like antibody-testing and throat swab examination may be needed in individuals, where the diagnosis is in doubt.

Causes and prevention of glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis)

Infectious mononucleosis is caused by Ebstein-Barr virus which belongs to group of herpes virus. It used to be called as ‘kissing disease’ since it was known to spread through saliva during kissing. However it is an air borne disease which may spread through respiratory droplets also.

Glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis): Complications

Infectious mononucleosis can lead to several complications like anaemia, which results from a reduced number of red blood cells. The spleen may enlarge excessively and subsequently rupture. This is a serious condition which will require immediate medical attention. Other complications include pneumonia, meningitis and encephalitis.

Glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis): Treatment

Infectious mononucleosis is a self-limiting infection. Thus, symptomatic relief plays a major role in its management. Medications like anti-pyretics are prescribed to manage fever. Warm saline or aspirin gargles help in relieving soreness of throat. Moreover, plenty of fluids, adequate rest and good nutrition are essential. The best part of infectious mononucleosis is that it confers life-long immunity in the affected individual. The prognosis of this viral infection, is good in most of the individuals.