By Steven King
College campuses see a lot of diseases that spread like wildfire. One illness in particular is quite notorious for being able to spread among college students. This illness is known as mononucleosis, but it’s commonly referred to as mono or “kissing disease.” As Valentine’s Day approaches, don’t you think it’s appropriate to understand a disease that spreads effectively through the act of kissing?
Mono isn’t something to laugh about. It is an incredibly debilitating illness that can leave a person feeling depleted of energy, along with several other symptoms like a sore throat, fever and rash. This virus is especially dangerous for college students because of the fatigue that is causes. Mono tends to be more severe and prolonged in college students and can result in poor attendance in class. Unfortunately, mono can’t be cured with medication, which means that your body will have to fight it off. So, where exactly is the good news with this fast-spreading, debilitating illness?
Well, despite all of the negatives, there are a few positives. To the people who’ve already suffered from it, you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Your body has already established antibodies that will help keep mono at bay. Other than that, there is a way of avoiding this virus. Mono is spread through saliva, so aside from kissing, you can catch this virus from sharing silverware, water bottles, toothbrushes and anything else that comes into contact with someone else’s saliva. It’s important to keep in mind that people can carry the virus unknowingly for up to eight weeks without appearing to have symptoms.
So how will you know if you have it? Mono can appear to be a very bad cold, but over time you’ll realize that you’re feeling a lot more tired than usual after a long day of lectures. This unbearable fatigue doesn’t seem to go away either and just gets worse to the point where you don’t feel like you can even move. What sets this illness apart from others is that the symptoms will linger. When symptoms, like extreme fatigue, sore throat and fever, continue for days, it’s a good time to get checked out by Student Health Services.
Unfortunately, If you are diagnosed with mono, there isn’t much that can be done. It’s a virus, so you’ll have to wait it out. To relieve symptoms though, take some ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Drink plenty of water and get lots of rest. Getting a lot of rest is especially helpful when fighting off this illness. The thing is, it’s hard to balance getting better, schoolwork and other commitments. Cutting down on some of those commitments, like sports, is tough but necessary when dealing with mono. Get in touch with professors and see what can be worked out. Remember, the more time you take to rest, the quicker you’ll get better.
Overall, in order to avoid the “kissing disease,” you have to take precautions. Avoid sharing items that come into contact with other people’s saliva. If you do have it, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Happy Valentine’s Day, and stay healthy!