The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) causes an acute infection of the throat and lymph nodes called infectious mononucleosis. Though commonly mistaken for an infection of influenza, the "mono" often affect youngsters in particular. Often passing unnoticed during childhood, it is rather mild in its affect where children are concerned. This is the opposite in the case of teenagers who contract mononucleosis, as the symptoms in such cases are usually more severe and cause serious complications to the health of the individual.
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Mononucleosis is sometimes called the "kissing disease" because of the fact that the virus is transmitted through infected saliva. Until they find out the level of seriousness inherent in the disease and the need for complete recovery, some of the infected teenagers are often initially amused when they come down with mono-recovery of course entails full restraints on all activities. Activities such as coughing or sneezing are also responsible for the spread of the disease among individuals.
An increase in the number of mononuclear white blood cells characterizes the disease and gives it its name mononucleosis. Physical symptoms that are often felt by the patient include conditions such as a fever, a sore throat, the swelling of the lymph glands and the spleen, patients often suffer from an addition abnormality in their liver function, and a bumpy red rash may also be present on the body. Feelings of tiredness and weakness also usually affects children down with mononucleosis.
Though in general, the older the person is, the longer the symptoms seem to last and the more severe the signs associated with the condition, an older patient also tends to have a much more lengthy recovery time; however in the majority of cases the infection runs its course in two to four weeks.
Persistent feelings of tiredness several months after the initial infection are also not uncommon; even after the child has fully recovered from the condition. The development of some sort of an obstruction in the upper airways, a persistent difficulty in swallowing, the onset of depression in the immune system, and liver disease are potential complications that may arise in many patients down with this condition.
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Sometimes emergency surgery is necessitated during exceptionally severe cases, if the spleen becomes highly enlarged and ruptures-this is possible usually after the patient suffers from a fall or other similar physical trauma.
It may be noted that the Epstein-Barr virus is among the most widespread viruses that have the potential to have an effect on the human body. In effect, majority of the infections caused by this virus takes place during one's infancy. Generally, this viral infection results in hardly any or no symptoms at all. However, even after being cured of the infection, this virus continues to stay in the patient's body throughout his/ her life. It remains dormant in some of the blood and throat cells.
Normally, infection by the Epstein-Barr virus has its origin in the throat, while the glands in the neck turn out to be tender and swollen. It has been found that children as well as the adolescents are most susceptible to this infection or glandular fever. When young children are infected by this virus, usually the symptoms of glandular fever are very mild and in nearly all instances it gets through free of any actual symptoms.
However, the problems are much worse when older patients develop glandular fever. Glandular fever is an infectious ailment that spreads from one individual to another when anyone comes in close contact with the patient, for instance, kissing the infected person. In addition, this infectious condition also spreads by means of droplets from the patients into the air.
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It normally takes about seven weeks time for the mononucleosis to develop. The most common symptoms of an individual infected by EBV include initial tender throat and gradually the tonsils become enlarged. In most cases, the patient has high temperature and the glands in the region of the neck as well as groin become swollen.
Occasionally, the liver is also affected by the virus and sometimes the patient also experiences bruising. A very common side effect of glandular fever is that the patient easily becomes fatigued, while the spleen becomes swollen too. At times, the condition may worsen further provided the patient also develops jaundice.
On the other hand, it is also possible that an individual is infected by EBV, but does not have any symptom of mononucleosis whatsoever. In medical terminology, this condition is known as a subclinical infection. Prior to the beginning of this ailment, for a couple of weeks the patient may have symptoms that are akin to the symptoms related to flu.
The complete symptoms of glandular fever may include high temperature, acute exhaustion and muscle aches. In approximately 20 per cent of incidences of glandular fever, the patients may also have swelling and inflammation in the region of their eyes, which, however, disappear with a couple of days. In addition, people affected by EBV also suffer from headaches and have a propensity to perspire.
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When you develop glandular fever, similar to the swollen lymph glands, your spleen, which is an element of the immune system, may also become distended. In case you endure this condition, at times you may feel the enlargement of the spleen at the place where your ribs end on the left side of the abdomen. The enlargement of the spleen may also result in slight pain.
The major symptoms of glandular fever may include enlarged and painful lymph nodes in the region of the neck, armpits as well as the groin. In addition, the liver of the patient may turn out to be distended and he or she may even develop jaundice, worsening the condition further. At the same time, a reddish rash (non-itching) may appear all over the body, which generally goes away as quickly as it appears.
People who have developed glandular fever may also experience queasiness or lack of appetite (anorexia). They will also suffer from a tender throat accompanied by enlarged tonsils that are thickly coated with a white covering.
If you suspect that you have been infected by EBV or experience the symptoms discussed above, it is advisable that you should see your physician and undergo appropriate medical tests with a view to diagnose the condition as well as initiate proper treatment. It is worth mentioning here that commonly it is believed that people who have endured glandular fever or any other comparable viral infection usually experience viral fatigue syndrome (also known as chronic fatigue syndrome) very often.
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Glandular fever is generally diagnosed on the basis of the symptoms of the patients, examination of blood samples as well as throat swab.
The good thing is that it is possible to avoid developing glandular fever by means of thwarting the infection by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) from spreading. Some of the things that you may do to prevent this contagious disease from spreading are briefly discussed below.
First and foremost, it is important to thoroughly rinse your hands often, especially after you cough or sneeze. In addition, if you have already developed this disease, you should also keep away from kissing any healthy person, because this disease spreads through coming in close contact with the affected individuals. If you want to avoid developing glandular fever, it is essential that you stop sharing your foods and drinks with others. Also don't share your personal belongings with other people.
It is really unfortunate that till date we do not have any vaccine to protect us from developing mononucleosis. As a result of this, people who have been infected with EBV once in their life continue to carry this virus in their body, especially in a number of their blood and throat cells, for their entire life. Therefore, it is really difficult to avoid the infection provided an individual has been infected by it once.
During the initial stages of mononucleosis start supplementation with a Chinese herbal formula known as yin qiao. The initial feelings and aches that are often associated with cases of mono can be relieved through the use of this herbal prescription by the patient. For the first three days as symptomatic treatment, children can be given a single dose, thrice a day as treatment.
For your attention: because of the fact that it does not contain any aspirin, the liquid extract is the preferred form over the tablet. Children under the age of four should not be given the tablet form as supplements.
The antiviral herb Echinacea and the bactericidal herb goldenseal in combination formula are excellent supplements during the recovery stage. This combination formula fights infection off and helps to boost the immune system aiding in the recovery of the patient from the disease.
During the first week of infection, children can be given a single dose, three times every day. It is important to have a break during this regimentation and so during the second week, discontinue the use of the formula, to be resumed during the third week. This is done because the herbs may lose their effectiveness if used on a continuous basis over a prolonged period of time.
The treatment of mononucleosis can also be carried out by supplementation with garlic, this herb possesses potent antiviral properties. For the first two to three weeks, children can be given a single capsule, two times a day, as a helpful supplement.
If a sore throat is present as one of the symptoms, marshmallow root and licorice root can be used as a soothing supplement for the patients use. Use these two herbs to brew a combination herbal tea, children can be given two to three cups a day of this tea, to relieve the throat pain for two days, at a time.
For you attention: licorice should not be given to children who have a high blood pressure even to treat symptoms of mononucleosis if they are down with the condition.
The liver is protected by herbal infusions of the milk thistle, this herb helps in the detoxification and the restoration of the body. For the first one month of treatment using this supplement, children can be given a single dose, once or two times every day.
Viruses can be warded off by the use of shiitake mushrooms, these help the immune system fight off viral infective particles that have a potential of causing infection. Children over twelve years of age can be given a single capsule, thrice a day, for a treatment period lasting two weeks per child. For the first one month, repeat similar dosages two times every day, as continual supplementation during mononucleosis disease.
During the recovery stage the use of the Chinese botanical herb the astragalus is also recommended in patients as it aids in strengthening the immune system and boosts energy levels of the body. If fever or any other signs of infection are persistent or present at any stage of the recovery period-the use of the herb is not recommended. For the first one month, children can be given a single dose after the fever has subsided, the dose can be repeated thrice a day during the entire length of the recovery period from mononucleosis.
Use of specific herbs and supplements has the aptitude to facilitate the cure of mononucleosis and also help the patients from suffering from viral fatigue syndrome when they have recovered from this condition. In fact, it is important to note that dietary supplements should only be used provided the intake of dietetic vitamins by the patient is insufficient.
For instance, folic acid is extremely beneficial for people suffering from glandular fever, as it has been found that many patients enduring this condition have a very poor level of this nutrient. In addition, they should also take dietary vitamin C as well as zinc with a view to facilitate in perking up their immune system. Similarly, bioflavonoids obtained from citrus fruits are nourishments that assist in enhancing the activities of vitamin C and, at the same time, facilitate in slowing down the growth of EBV, the virus responsible for causing glandular fever.
In addition to the supplements mentioned above, use of dietary vitamin A is effective in incidences like glandular fever, wherein the immune system may possibly require sustenance. The herb Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia as well as Echinacea purpurea) possesses therapeutic attributes that facilitate in augmenting the functioning of the immune system in our body, especially being beneficial when there is any viral infection. In addition, a number of other herbs, such as ginger, garlic and liquorice root, enclose powerful antioxidants that not only demonstrate anti-viral activity, but are also responsible for protecting us from viral infections in a significant manner.
Doing a number of other things also helps in curing glandular fever as well as providing relief from the symptoms of this contagious disease. Some of these are discussed in brief below.
Water has the aptitude to restrict dehydration as well as to cure exhaustion. In addition, water also helps to get rid of the toxic and waste substances from the body and, thereby, purifies the blood. It may be noted that drinking a minimum of four litres of water is extremely helpful in regulating glandular fever.
Epsom salt contains high levels of magnesium and mixing it in your bath water is an excellent natural way to cure glandular fever. Magnesium is useful in unwinding the tense muscles and, thereby, eases muscle pains.
Coriander is known to possess anti-inflammatory attributes which are effective in curing glandular fever. Smash some coriander seeds and put them in boiling water. Allow the smashed coriander seeds to soak in water for about 20 minutes, filter the liquid and drink it to cure the contagious disease.
As is well-known, saline water works in the form of a natural dehydrating agent. It helps to get rid of surplus water from the adjoining tissues and, at the same time, helps to eliminate bacteria. In addition, salt water also offers a speedy respite from the symptoms associated with glandular fever. Hence, if you have developed this disease, you will find it beneficial to add a teaspoonful of salt in a cup (250 ml) of tepid water, blend it properly and gargle with the warm saline water.
Like coriander, ginger is also known to possess anti-inflammatory attributes and lemon encloses high levels of vitamin C. Together ginger and lemon have the aptitude to provide relief from tender throat and, thereby, cure glandular fever. Take the juice extracted from half a lemon and some ginger pieces sliced freshly and add them to a cup (250 ml) of tepid water. Allow the lemon juice and ginger slices to soak in the warm water for some time and, subsequently, drink the mixture.
Besides taking conventional remedies, herbs and supplements, you may do a few more things to get relief from the symptoms of mononucleosis and also facilitate the treatment of this infectious disease. It should always be borne in mind that there is no particular treatment for glandular fever, which is caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, and it is usually indicative or symptomatic. Adequate rest and sleep are essential for people who have already developed this contagious disease. In addition, they ought to drink lots of fluids, especially water, to ensure that they do not suffer from dehydration.
High body temperature and pain are the two main symptoms of glandular fever and these may be treated by using pain killers like anti-inflammatory, non-steroidal drugs, for instance aspirin or ibuprofen. It generally takes about two weeks time for the patient to recover from this condition. Even as the patient may be taking conventional remedies to treat mononucleosis, complementary as well as supporting healings like massage and acupuncture have the potential to augment the functioning of the immune system as well as remove the blockages of the spleen, liver and the lymphatic system.
In addition, fasting for a brief period may perhaps assist in stimulating the immune system to combat the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is responsible for this disease. In addition, drinking lots of juices freshly extracted from vegetables and fruits, water with a dollop of fresh lemon juice as well as herbal teas for 24 hours after developing mononucleosis may prove to be helpful in providing relief from the symptoms of this condition.
During the subsequent 24 hours, the patients should continue with their fluid intake and just consume fruits, salads, gently steamed vegetables, whole grain cereals in little quantities and some amount of fish, eggs and poultry to provide them with protein. It is important for the patients to keep away from all types of processed and sweetened foods and also do away with caffeine and alcohol till they have recuperated completely.
Taking hot drinks may help in providing respite from aching throats in people suffering from mononucleosis. In addition, they should take sufficient rest when they have high body temperature or are feeling exhausted. It is advisable that they should recommence their physical activities gradually. Precisely speaking, it is best to wait for about eight weeks prior to resuming activities that entail heavy physical burden. When the patient is recuperating from glandular fever, it is also prudent to restrain from drinking alcoholic beverages for a minimum period of six weeks.
The diet of people who have been infected by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) should comprise foods that have the aptitude to enhance the health of blood. Their diet should incorporate foods that have high levels of iron, for instance red meat as well as liver.
They should keep away from foods that are difficult to digest and also put a pressure on the digestive system. In addition, such patients should keep away from fried and fatty foods. In such cases, taking a diet that contains a lot of fresh foods is beneficial and, therefore, it is advisable that they should eat lots of fruits, particularly oranges, pineapple, berries and kiwi fruit, all of which contain high amounts of vitamin C.
It is best if their meals comprise lightly cooked vegetables and include raw garlic. It should be kept in mind that cooking the vegetables thoroughly will only deprive them of the essential nourishments, such as vitamins, which are always indispensible for an excellent health. It would be excellent to have a light and nutritious diet like home-made soups. It would be best to do away with all types of dairy products having full-cream and instead consume low-fat yoghurt and fatless milk.
As aforementioned, it is essential for people suffering from mononucleosis to take adequate bed rest. In addition, they ought to quit smoking for it is believed that smoking diminishes the functioning of the immune system. When people with glandular fever continue smoking, it may enhance the possibilities of developing degenerating lung ailments.
Stopping alcoholic drinks or reducing consumption of alcoholic beverages will also help to facilitate the treatment of mononucleosis. It may be noted that when one consumes alcoholic drinks, it only adds to the burden of the liver and is also believed to interfere with the cleansing of the liver.
On the contrary, it is advisable that you should drink plenty of filtered water - a minimum of six to eight glasses every day. In order to ease the pain or fever caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, you may take paracetamol tablets, which are better than taking aspirin in the form of pain killers owing to the uncommon association of aspirin with the Epstein-Barr virus to give rise to Reye's syndrome.
Provided the diet of the patient is not appropriate, he or she may consider taking a number of dietary supplements. It is worth mentioning here that taking supplements containing zinc and vitamin C (extended release) may possibly assist the better functioning of the body's natural immune system. In addition, taking dietary supplements containing acidophilus assists the body in restricting the development of Candida andor thrush and, at the same time, facilitates in promoting the appropriate situation within the digestive tract for assimilating the ingested nutrients.
Please note: Unless recommended otherwise by the physician, children below the age of 16 years should never be given aspirin.