Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mononucleosis

Frequently asked questions about mononucleosis

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  • Mononucleosis is contagious and is commonly spread through direct contact with infected body fluids and airborne saliva particles
  • While mononucleosis usually occurs in patients only once, it may recur, especially in people with compromised immune systems
  • You can prevent contracting mononucleosis by avoiding coming into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected individual. You can also avoid developing the symptoms of mononucleosis by strengthening your immune system through a healthy diet and lifestyle

Q: How do you get mononucleosis?

A: The primary mode of transmission of mononucleosis is through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, e.g. sexual contact, kissing or sharing utensils. While it's uncommon, mononucleosis can also be transmitted through blood transfusions and organ transplants.1

Q: Is mononucleosis contagious?

A: Yes. Mononucleosis is contagious and is commonly spread through direct contact with infected body fluids and airborne saliva particles. Although a patient may recover from mononucleosis, the virus that causes this condition can stay in the body indefinitely. This means that it can be transmitted even after recovery.2

Q: How long does mononucleosis last?

A: The duration of this condition generally varies across the population, but symptoms usually last for two to four weeks. However, there have been documented instances where these symptoms last for several months.3

Q: Is a mononucleosis recurrence possible?

A: Yes. While mononucleosis usually occurs in patients only once, it may reoccur, especially in people with compromised immune systems. The reoccurrence of mononucleosis can be prevented by strengthening the immune system to avoid the reactivation of the Epstein-Barr virus.4

Q: How long is the incubation period for mononucleosis?

A: The incubation period refers to the length of time the virus stays in the body before symptoms start surfacing. The incubation period for the Epstein-Barr virus usually lasts from four to six weeks.

Q: Is it possible to prevent developing mononucleosis after contact?

A: Not all people exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus develop mononucleosis. About 1 in 4 people exposed to the virus develops the symptoms of mononucleosis.5 This largely depends on the strength of the immune system of the individual. You can prevent contracting mononucleosis by avoiding coming into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected individual. You can also avoid developing the symptoms of mononucleosis by strengthening your immune system through a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Q: At what age do people usually get mononucleosis?

A: Mononucleosis can be acquired at any age, but the peak transmission of the virus usually occurs during the adolescent years. It's most prevalent between the ages of 15 and 19.

Q: Is mononucleosis fatal?

A: Mononucleosis is not usually fatal. However, a severe type of mononucleosis can become fatal if left undiagnosed or untreated. Complications stemming from mononucleosis — usually liver or spleen complications — have also been observed to cause death in certain individuals.

Q: How is mononucleosis diagnosed?

A: During the onset of the condition, numerous symptoms can present themselves simultaneously. If a patient presents the symptoms of mononucleosis, it is recommended that they seek the advice of a health professional.

To diagnose mononucleosis, physical exams are often done to determine whether the liver, spleen or lymph nodes are inflamed. This is done by gently pressing on the abdomen of the patient to check if the liver is enlarged. The lymph nodes found in the neck and the armpit are also checked. The history of contact may also be required to determine if the person has had any contact with a person affected by this condition.6

There are also different blood tests to determine whether there are heterophile antibodies in the blood, which are proteins produced by the immune system in response to an Epstein-Barr virus infection. A complete blood count is also usually done to check if there are elevated levels of white blood cells.7

MORE ABOUT MONONUCLEOSIS

Introduction: Mononucleosis

What Is Mononucleosis?

Mononucleosis Symptoms

Mononucleosis Causes

Mononucleosis Treatment

Mononucleosis Prevention

Mononucleosis Diet

Mononucleosis FAQ


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