you know that mono is also called “the kissing disease?”
Well, it is! So pucker
up and get ready to learn about mono.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is a kind of herpes virus, is what causes
Infectious mononucleosis (pronounced: mah-noh-new-klee-oh-sis),
also known as mono. The
herpes virus causes cold sores and illnesses like chicken pox too.
people who get mono are between the ages of 10 and 15.
The mono virus affects your salivary glands, which are located
inside of your mouth – the inside of your cheeks and under your tongue
– and they make the saliva, also known as spit, in your body.
It also affects your respiratory system, which is your lungs and
breathing tubes, and blood, and it can make you feel tired and achy all
over your body.
is contagious, which means you can easily get it from someone who has it,
or you could give it to somebody who doesn’t have it.
Even though you can get mono from kissing someone who’s infected
with EBV, there are some different ways you can get it, but they all
include having contact with spit. Coughing
(without covering your mouth) on someone, sharing food from the same
plate, toothbrushes, straws, pillows, and kissing can spread mono too.
you get mono, you can spread it to other people for up to six months
afterwards. Since at first,
people usually don’t feel sick after catching the EBV virus, someone
could have mono – and they could be spreading it – without even
noticing! That’s why it’s
important not to share things like silverware, straws, or make-up at
always, mono causes you to feel very, very tired, but you might have some
other symptoms, too. The
Swollen lymph glands (the virus-fighting glands in your neck, underarms,
Sometimes, it may
seem like you have influenza or maybe strep throat because the symptoms
are so similar. The only way
to confirm that you have mono is to… yep! you guessed it!
Go to the doctor. There,
he will examine you and draw blood for tests to see if you have mono.
If you do have to go there to get a test, here’s the part where
you want to read carefully. If you want to impress your doctor to show him how smart you
are, just remember that one of the tests is called a monospot.
If you get a
serious case of mono you will need quite a lot of rest, which means… (awww
man) no school for a while, no sports, no running outside playing with
friends, or even wrestling with your younger brother.
While you’re resting, you’ll need to drink plenty of fluids.
Preferably water and juice. You
can ask your mom or dad to give you a pain reliever if you have a fever or
a sore muscle. Don’t take
any aspirin though, because that can put you in danger of something called
Reye syndrome, which can be extremely dangerous.
You might be
terribly bored, but you can make it fun by getting some quiet activities
such as a fun pad, or asking your parents if you can rest in front of the
TV. Or, if you have a game boy, you can play that.
Do whatever you can think of to have fun, but still be resting at
the same time.
If you play sports,
especially football, hockey, or other sports that involve a lot of
contact, you will possibly need to stay away from them for about a month
after you get better, especially if your spleen is enlarged.
Your doctor will let you know when it’s okay for you to get back
in the game. If you get a
little constipated, or, you’re having trouble going to the bathroom,
relax and don’t push! Instead,
eat a lot of fruits, grains, and… dun duh duh dun duh dah!
veggies! And don’t forget to drink lots of water to get things
be happy to know that mono will go away in a few weeks, even though
you’ll have to put up with taking it easy for a while.
Make sure you wash your hands after you cough or sneeze, keep your
straws, silverware, and toothbrushes to yourself, and last, but not
least… no kissing for a few months!
The Nemours Foundation. "KidsHealth for Kids" 1995-2004. <http://www.kidshealth.org/kid/> (January-February, 2004).
Bernstein, Joanne E. and Paul Cohen. Dizzy Doctor Riddles. Niles, Illinois: Albert Whitman & Company. 1989.
Images of sleeping child and balanced meal from "Microsoft Office Online" <http://office.microsoft.com/clipart/default.aspx?cag=1> Images free for non-profit and personal use. (October-February, 2003-2004).
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