A Kiss is But A Kiss: Or Is It?

By Christy Lenahan - Macaroni Kid Content Contributor October 25, 2018

I am sure you have all heard of the kissing disease and, if you are the parent of a teenager, I am

sure you have forewarned your teenager of this icky illness. The scientific name for the kissing disease is

infectious mononucleosis and it is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Infectious mononucleosis, or mono

for short, affects primarily 15 to 17 year olds, but it can affect younger children and adults who have

never been exposed to the virus. Symptoms of mono are uncomfortable and include sore throat,

swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, swollen tonsils, headache, and severe fatigue. Mono can

also cause the spleen to enlarge.

Symptoms typically resolve on their own, but some may last longer than others. For instance,

fever and sore throat tend to only last for two weeks, but fatigue and enlarged spleen may last for six to

seven weeks. If your child is diagnosed with mono, rest and fluids as well as medications for fever and

body aches may be used. Antibiotics will not help. One other consideration is limiting the activities your

child is involved in – especially contact sports. An enlarged spleen is at risk for rupture and blunt trauma

from contact sports, motor vehicle accident, etc. should be avoided.

To prevent the spread of mono, good handwashing should be performed on a regular basis

(before and after meals, before and after toileting, any time you sneeze/cough). Also advise your

children that a kiss not always just a kiss – infections like mono are easily spread this way. Finally, ask

that your children not share food, drinks, or utensils with friends or family to avoid spreading potentially

harmful germs!

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