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Why Should You Talk to Your Teen About Mono?

Group of teens
From working part-time afterschool jobs to fixing complicated computer systems, today's teens have become very independent and apt in what they do and how they do it. As a concerned mother or father, it may be difficult for you to talk to your teen about things you feel are important to their health, including infectious mononucleosis.

Infectious mononucleosis (mono) is also known as the "kissing disease" and can develop from several viruses, including EBV (the Epstein-Barr virus). In most cases, the virus can live in the body without causing any major complications with its host. However, some teens can experience complications from infectious mono.

Learn more about infectious mononucleosis and how it could affect your loved one.

How Can Your Teen Contract Infectious Mononucleosis?

The Epstein-Barr virus belongs to the herpes simplex family. The virus spreads by direct contact with infectious body fluid, such as saliva and blood. Your teen may unknowingly contract the virus just by doing things many people do every day.

For instance, the virus can transmit to your teen if they:
  • Drink out of someone's beverage 
  • Borrow a friend's face towel or toothbrush
  • Eat from another person's plate or utensils
  • Share lipstick or similar types of makeup
Kissing is actually one of the biggest transmitters of EBV in teens and young adults.

Now that you know how EBV transmits from person to person, learn about how it may potentially affect your loved one.

What Are the Symptoms of Infectious Mono?

If your teen does contract the Epstein-Barr virus, they may not experience any active symptoms during their lifetime. Your teen may simply become a carrier of the virus instead. But if EBV does become active in your loved one, it may take up to six weeks before they experience fatigue, body aches, fever, sore throat, and other symptoms.

Some teens can experience problems with their spleen and liver, which are two of the most important organs in the body. These vital organs can experience various complications that affect how they behave in the body. 

Learn more about these organs and how EBV affects them below.

The Spleen

The spleen filters pathogens from your loved one's blood as well as helps to recycle old red blood cells. The spleen also stores a healthy supply of platelets and white blood cells for future use. EBV can cause the spleen to swell up or enlarge over time. An enlarged spleen can interfere with your teen's ability to eat and fight infections, and it can also rupture.

The Liver

The liver is in charge of removing toxic materials and other substances from the body. The Epstein-Barr virus can damage the liver and cause hepatitis in some individuals. Hepatitis may lead to jaundice (yellowing) in various parts of the body, including the eyes and skin.

EBV may potentially lead to other complications, including anemia, meningitis, and heart inflammation. Because mono can cause so many problems for your teen, you will need to speak candidly with your loved one about the dangers of infectious mononucleosis. A pediatric doctor can help you do so.

How Do You Talk to Your Teen About Mono?

A pediatrician can schedule a well-care appointment for your teen. During the visit, a pediatrician can discuss EBV and other health problems that may potentially affect your teen's physical and mental health. The visit can help your teen learn why they need to practice caution when sharing or using other people's food, drinks, and personal items.

If a pediatrician offers it, you may want to have your teen tested for the Epstein-Barr virus. The tests are often used to diagnose teens suspected of carrying the mono virus. You can ask about mono testing when you contact a pediatrician for an appointment. 

If you worry about your teen's health or wish to obtain more information about the Epstein-Barr virus, contact us at Kids Avenue Pediatrics today.

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