glandular; fever; infectious; mononucleosis; mono;
What is glandular fever?
Glandular fever, or Infectious Mononucleosis (say in-fex-shus mono-new-klee-o-sis), 'mono' for short, is caused by a virus. The virus is called the Epstein-Barr virus after the two medical researchers who first discovered it.
The older people are when they get glandular fever, the longer they usually take to get better. Young kids are often only slightly unwell if they get it, and are soon back to normal.
How do you get it?
You have to be in close contact with someone who has the virus for you to get it. The virus is in the saliva of an infected person. That's why it's often called the 'kissing disease'! Of course you can get it in other ways like sharing cups, forks or spoons with someone or an infected person sneezing or coughing nearby.
What does it look like?
Some people may only be a little bit unwell while others may be quite unwell for a long time.
You may have:
- swollen glands in your neck, under your arms, or in other places
- a very bad sore throat
- tiredness (which can go on for weeks)
- aches and pains
- a rash
- a swollen liver or spleen - your doctor will check for this as you can't actually see if they are swollen. If the liver is swollen then your skin may look yellow, but this doesn't happen very often.
- A loss of interest in food.
Your doctor might do a blood test to make sure that you do have glandular fever.
What you can do
You need to do what your body is telling you to do and that is REST.
- You don't have to be in bed all the time. You don't have to sit down all the time.
- Carry on with your everyday life if you can, but you will probably need to give up sport or hard exercise for a while until you are feeling better.
- When you are feeling a bit better you should go to school, but let your teacher know that you have glandular fever so that she can see that you don't get too tired.
- Make sure you eat healthy food, and get a good sleep every night.
- Drink lots of water.
- Wash your hands before eating and after going to the toilet (of course).
- Do not share cups or water bottles with others.
- Put used tissues in the bin or flush them down the toilet.
Sorry, but you don't need to give up homework!! You may need to ask for more time on projects or homework if you are feeling really tired.
Dr Kate says
If you are feeling unwell and have some of the symptoms we've talked about, then it's a good idea to go and see your doctor. If your doctor thinks you may have glandular fever then you can have a blood test to make sure. You can't be immunized against it. Usually you will begin to feel better after a couple of weeks.
We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.