Mononucleosis: The Kissing Disease?

Mono (short for mononucleosis), is also called the kissing disease. It’s true that you can get mono through kissing, but that’s because it’s in your saliva, or spit. You can also get it by sharing drinks, eating utensils, and even lip gloss, balms or lipsticks.

Do you have a fever, a sore throat, a headache, and feel exhausted? Has it been a couple of weeks and you just can’t seem to get your energy back? Could be mono.

kiss    Mono is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It’s in your spit and may be spread through kissing, or sharing eating utensils or personal items. The symptoms of mono vary, but usually include a sore throat, fever, headache, swollen glands, and extreme tiredness.

Unfortunately, mono is contagious when you’re first infected, which is often before you have any symptoms or signs of the infection. This is called the incubation stage and may last four to seven weeks.

Once symptoms appear, it might be easy to mistake mono for strep or a cold, but when it sticks around for a couple of weeks, you should see your doctor.

Symptoms often last 2 to 4 weeks, and sometimes longer. During this time it’s best to stay home, get plenty of rest, and avoid contact sports and strenuous activities.

During this time, you can still infect others.

As the weeks pass, you might be feeling more tired than usual, and it might be easier for you to catch colds and other illnesses that are going around in school.

Once you’re feeling better and have returned to school, tell your friends not to worry about getting mono from you.

As time goes on, you become less contagious, but it’s always good to practice standard precautions and frequent hand washing, and avoid sharing personal items and food that contain saliva – yours or anyone else’s!


Important disclaimer: The information on pkids.org is for educational purposes only and should not be considered to be medical advice. It is not meant to replace the advice of the physician who cares for your child. All medical advice and information should be considered to be incomplete without a physical exam, which is not possible without a visit to your doctor.

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