An unusually high number of mononucleosis cases have been documented by the UTC Student Health Center, according to Dr. Chris Smith, director of the center. There have been twenty cases reported on campus this fall. Smith has issued the following advisory for students, faculty and staff:
Infectious Mononucleosis (“mono”) is caused by a virus, the Epstein-Barr virus. The virus infects certain type of white blood cells.
Symptoms to look for may include:
• Sore throat
• Swollen glands (especially in the neck)
Symptoms start usually 30-50 days after initial exposure. Many people catch mononucleosis and only have mild symptoms similar to the common cold. Older children and young adults are more likely to have worse symptoms; for this reason, “mono” is more often recognized in high school and college-age students. Symptoms can last from one week to several.
How is it spread?
The virus is spread by person-to-person contact, via saliva (on hands or toys, or by kissing or drinking after someone) or by coughing and sneezing.
Can mono be cured?
NO! It can be treated but not cured. Treatment usually consists of rest and medicines to control other signs and symptoms. There are no antibiotics for this. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to maintain hydration. Mono usually last for about four weeks. You may be able to keep your normal schedule but in extreme cases, you will need to have several rest periods during the day. In these circumstances, it may be necessary to miss class.
You can prevent an EBV infection.
Avoid contact with the saliva of someone who has mononucleosis or who recently had it (or any other body fluids). Wash dishes with hot soapy water after exposure to persons with mononucleosis.
What do I do if I think I have “mono”?
If symptoms described here make you suspect that you have Mono, don’t panic or self-diagnose. Seek a diagnosis through the University Health Center or your physician. Only a blood test and physical exam can confirm or rule out an EBV infection.
What about sports and exercise?
Avoid sports activities or exercise of any kind until your doctor tells you it’s safe. Moving around too much puts you at risk of rupturing your spleen. You need to avoid physical activities for about three to four weeks after the infection starts.
This information is provided by the UTC Student Health Center and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Students suffering from symptoms may contact the UTC Student Health Center, (423)425-4453. The UTC Student Health Center is located in the Metropolitan Building, which can be accessed by entering from Houston Street and walking up the covered ramp.