A topic parents often ask about is what they should do if their child has mononucleosis, or “mono.” Mononucleosis is a viral infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is in the family of the herpes virus. It is often called the kissing disease because the virus is spread by saliva. While this can be from kissing, it can also be from sharing a drink or using the same utensils.
The symptoms of mono include fever, sore throat, swollen glands, and white spots in the back of the throat. It can also cause you to feel tired and a bit run down. If you suspect your child may have mono, it’s important to call your pediatrician so they can diagnose with a blood test. During this time, they may want to check other blood work as well for any additional worries. If the sore throat is bad enough, sometimes children won’t want to eat or drink and they’ll get dehydrated. Another worry is with the spleen, as mononucleosis can cause it to enlarge. In rare cases, the spleen can rupture which is a very serious complication. For these reasons, when a child has mono we advise they rest for one or two weeks. We especially recommend they don’t participate in things like gym class or sports.
If your child is having any of these symptoms, or you know they were exposed to someone with mono, reach out to your pediatrician so they can make that diagnosis.