Mono, the term often used to describe a condition known as infectious mononucleosis, refers to a collection of symptoms that are typically caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). A member of the herpes virus family, EBV is highly contagious and infects people throughout the world. Since these two conditions are related, it also means that mono is highly contagious. Though it tends to affect teenagers more than any other group of people, anyone can get it.
Spread through saliva, mono has been coined “the kissing disease.” While kissing is certainly one way that this virus can spread, it’s not the only way. It can be spread whenever someone makes contact with an infected person’s saliva; sharing drinks or foods, using glasses or utensils that have not been properly washed, etc. Mono can also be spread through blood, as well as through sneezing or coughing.
Typically, it takes between 4 to 8 weeks for the symptoms of mono to the present. A person who is infected may continue exchanging saliva via kissing or other methods, or passing bodily fluids, without even knowing that he or she is infected. Since it takes some time for people to learn that they are infected with mono, they are unable to take the proper precautions to prevent spreading the disease. This, coupled with the fact that it is highly contagious, is why mono spreads so easily.
How can you tell if you have mono? Here are 14 symptoms that might clue you in.
1. A sore throat
In teens and young adults, one of the most common symptoms of mono is a sore throat. The pain associated with a sore throat that is caused by mono is usually quite severe. It may be piercing and burning. The pain can last for several days for up to two weeks. This soreness is often associated with redness and swelling in the throat. It can also be accompanied by coughing, mucus, and wheezing. Of, people who develop this symptom attribute it to something else, like the common cold. While a sore throat can be a sign of other infections, if the pain is severe and persists, it’s wise to see a doctor.