Mononucleosis

Mononucleosis, sometimes referred to a "mono," is an acute infectious, viral disease usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus or cytomegalovirus, both of which belong to the herpes group. Mono is often also referred to as "sleeping sickness," or "kissing sickness," since it is very contagious and may be transmitted by kissing, and its primary symptom is severe tiredness. It affects the lymph tissue, the respiratory system, and sometimes other organs such as the liver, spleen, and, rarely, the heart and kidneys, and presents with an increase of white abnormal blood cells and development of persistent antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus and short-lived antibodies to beef, horse, and sheep red blood cells.

Symptoms of mono occur four to seven weeks after exposure and include severe fatigue, headache, alternating chills and a high fever, sore throat, and enlarged lymph nodes, especially in the neck. Symptoms can vary and be confusing, because the mono viruses can affect different organs such as the spleen, liver, eyelids, and sometimes the heart. Ten percent of people with mono also develop rashes and/or darkened bruises in the mouth.

Mono typically occurs between the ages of 14 18, and only in people who have never before had antibodies to the viruses that cause it.

What To Consider

Mono's symptoms are very similar to the flu must be ruled out. Almost all cases improve without drugs within four to six weeks. Though antibiotics are often prescribed for mono, in actuality they are of little use unless there is an associated bacterial infection. In addition, the antibiotic ampicillin will often make mono worse and should be avoided. Also avoid aspirin as it can create further complications in rare cases.

Proper treatment in the early stages of mono must emphasize appropriate bed rest. If there is enlargement of the spleen or liver, the rest may need to be prolonged and strenuous exercise must be avoided until these organs return to normal size.

Many mono patients suffer from ongoing fatigue, depression, and varied symptoms for months to follow, but those on natural treatments seem to avoid this pitfall or recover from these recurrences more quickly.

Self-Care Tips

Diet
Drink plenty of pure water and avoid excessive animal proteins. Also eat four to six smaller meals throughout the day and avoid overeating at each meal. For best results, eat as many raw foods as possible, especially sprouts, seeds, and nuts. Avoid processed foods, soft drinks, sugar, caffeine, white flour products, and fried foods.

Before retiring, take several bites of complex carbohydrate foods (crackers, potatoes, pasta, etc.) along with several bites of a non-animal protein (nut butter, yogurt, cheese, seeds, etc.) along with a large glass of pure water or warm herbal tea.

Nutritional Supplementation
Useful nutrients include vitamin C, free-form amino acids (1/4-1/2 teaspoon ten minutes before meals, three to four times daily), vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B complex, acidophilus, glandulars of organs involved (liver, spleen and/or lymph/thymus), chlorophyll, selenium, and a multivitamin/mineral supplement

Herbs
Combine the tinctures of myrrh, echinacea, wormwood, cleavers, and calendula in equal parts and take 1/2 teaspoon of this mixture four times a day.

Homeopathy
Useful homeopathic remedies include Belladonna, Merc iod., and Phytolacca.

Hydrotherapy
Contrast hydrotherapy of alternating hot and cold baths of packs applied two to five times a week can boost immune function.

Juice Therapy
Combine the juices of carrot, beet, tomato, green pepper, garlic, and onion. Wheat grass juice or other fresh green juices can also be helpful.

Caution

If your symptoms persist despite the above measures, seek the help of a qualified health professional.

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