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Mononucleosis

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A year-round viral infection commonly called "mono" or "the kissing disease," mononucleosis is spread by saliva, mucus (from the nose and throat), even tears. Children, especially teens, get it more often than adults, but because the disease is often mild, it sometimes isn't diagnosed. Mono can also cause malaise, headaches, and a general feeling of fatigue that can last weeks or months. The tonsils can become covered with a white or gray-green covering; some people also develop a faint pink rash on the face or body. Rarely, mono causes an enlarged spleen that ruptures, which can be life threatening. Mono is a virus (caused by the Epstein-Barr virus) that won't respond to antibiotics. The best treatment? Rest, plenty of fluids, and fever reducers. Avoiding contact sports for at least three to four weeks is also important, to protect the spleen.

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