A sore throat that is accompanied by severe fatigue can be triggered by the Epstein-Barr virus infection which is an illness called as mononucleosis. It is important to note that mononucleosis is often called as “the kissing disease” since the virus is mostly spreads via contact with infected saliva.
Mononucleosis can also spread via airborne particles that are released when an infected individual sneezes or coughs as well as sharing of utensils. It is important to note that this condition is not as contagious with other infections such as common cold.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The symptoms of mononucleosis typically manifest gradually and start with severe fatigue, headache, malaise and sore throat. As the infection starts to spread, the sore throat will increasingly worsen and the tonsils will develop a whitish covering on the surface. The lymph nodes can also become swollen. The other symptoms of mononucleosis include fever, drowsiness, muscle aches, appetite loss and rash.
Since antibiotics are not effective against viruses, there is no specific treatment for mononucleosis. Take note that this infection is typically allowed to run its full course. Luckily, there are home care measures that can be used that focus on relieving the symptoms until the infection goes away.
Increasing the intake of fluid, bed rest, throat lozenges, saltwater gargles and popsicles can help reduce the severity of the symptoms as well as hasten the healing process. There are over-the-counter pain medications and fever reducers that help relieve sore throat and minimize fever.
With the help of these measures, the symptoms can be relieved until the infection eventually clears up. If in doubt on the pain medications to use, it is best to consult a doctor so that the right ones can be given.
What is the prognosis?
In most cases of mononucleosis, they go away without the development of any serious health issues. It is important to note that fever linked with mononucleosis generally subsides within 10 days. The sore throat and swollen lymph nodes typically heal within 4 weeks. Other symptoms such as fatigue can last for 2-3 days.
What are the possible complications?
Mononucleosis can cause the spleen to enlarge. In some cases, the spleen might rupture which causes intense pain and requires immediate medical attention. Mononucleosis can cause the inflammation of the liver and jaundice which causes the yellowish tinge on the skin and whites of the eyes. In rare cases, mononucleosis can cause anemia, thrombocytopenia and inflammation of the heart.
Important considerations to bear in mind
Since mononucleosis causes the enlargement of the spleen, it is vital that the individual will avoid any form of sports, physical activity and exercise. Engaging in these activities puts the individual at risk for a ruptured spleen. Physical activity should be avoided for 3-4 weeks after acquiring mononucleosis.