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How to Prevent Mononucleosis

Commonly referred to as the kissing disease, mononucleosis—or mono—can spread in a variety of ways, not just through kissing. The condition is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus and mainly affects adolescents or young adults, according to the Mayo Clinic. From coughing and sneezing to sharing eating utensils, the virus is transmitted by saliva. Signs and symptoms generally last a few weeks and include fatigue, sore throat and fever. Symptoms do not develop until 4 to 6 weeks after initial exposure. Treatment includes rest, increased hydration and over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen to relieve muscle aches and fever. Antibiotics are not effective in curing mono because the condition is caused by a virus. Implement precautionary steps to avoid catching or spreading mono.

Avoid kissing anyone who has recently been diagnosed with the disease. Kissing is one of the most common ways mono is spread due to the exchange of saliva.

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Communicate to close friends and family if you are diagnosed with mono to prevent further spread of the virus. Do not be embarrassed about a positive diagnosis; remember, the virus is transmitted through a variety of methods, not just kissing. Emphasize the importance of personal hygiene to friends and family you have close contact with.

Avoid sports activities for 1 month after diagnosis. Close contact is required in most sports, and it is important to not infect other members of the sports team. More importantly, the spleen may rupture due to rigorous activity. Enlargement of the spleen is a common complication associated with mono.

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Wash hands with soap or use antibacterial solution throughout the day. Avoid putting your hands in or near your mouth. Avoid rubbing your eyes.

Do not drink from someone else’s glass. Ensure all eating utensils and dinnerware are thoroughly washed using hot water and dish soap.

Disinfect commonly touched areas such as doorknobs, light switches and telephones with antibacterial wipes. Clean on a very frequent basis if someone in the household is infected with the virus.

Eat a healthy diet including fresh fruits and vegetables. Get plenty of rest and practice regular sleep patterns. Overexerting the body can cause a decrease in the immune system, making you more susceptible to infection and sickness.

Cover your mouth or quickly move away if someone sneezes or coughs. Always carry tissues with you if you are the one diagnosed with mono.