Mononucleosis In Children: Everything You Should Know

Mononucleosis in children can appear as early as 6 months of age, although it is rare. In most cases, there are no dangers or complications.
Mononucleosis in children: Everything you should know

Mononucleosis in children under the age of 15 is not very common, but it can occur occasionally. This disease usually occurs in people who are between 15 and 25 years old,  although it can occur in people outside this age limit.

Since it is a contagious disease, it is not easy to stop the spread of mononucleosis in children, especially if they are young. This disease can occur at the age of 6 months, although it is more serious if a young person or adult gets it.

What is mononucleosis in children?

It is a contagious disease, almost always benign, which usually disappears on its own. It usually affects school-age children, adolescents and young adults. Mononucleosis in preschool children is not very common, and if it does occur, it rarely has symptoms.

Researchers estimate that 95% of adults between the ages of 35 and 40 have already been infected with this disease at some point in their lives. Some do not even know it, as there are types without symptoms that go unnoticed. However, the virus remains in the body in a dormant state.

Mononucleosis in children is more common in areas of poor hygiene, which promotes the spread of the infectious substance. In general  , people only suffer from it once in a lifetime. Despite this, the virus can be reactivated, especially in people undergoing a transplant.

Girl's throat is checked for mononucleosis in children

How to get it?

Mononucleosis is also known as kissing disease or mono. Although a kiss can be the path to infection, it is not always transmitted in this way. Like other viral diseases  , it is spread through saliva.

This means that coughing, sneezing and generally close contact facilitate the transmission. Objects that contain saliva can also spread it. Children tend to share straws, water bottles and food, which is a risk factor.

Mononucleosis is in 90% of cases caused by Epstein-Barr virus. Cytomegalovirus  causes 7% of infections. The origin in the remaining percentage is  toxoplasma gondii.

Epsein-Barr virus (EBV) belongs to the same family as herpes, and as is often the case with this type of microorganism, it can remain in the body for a long time in a dormant state without causing any symptoms. However, a person without symptoms can spread the disease.

Symptoms of mononucleosis in children

It is very rare for young children to show symptoms of this disease or that the cases are severe. If there are any symptoms, the most common are as follows:

  • Fever.
  • Sore throat.
  • White spots on the back of the throat.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, groin and armpit.
  • A feeling of tiredness or exhaustion.

In some cases, these symptoms may be accompanied by others such as tremors, headache, swollen eyelids and inflammation of the liver or spleen. In the long run, anemia is a more symptomatic complication that can come from the infection.

Mononucleosis in children can lead to very serious complications, but it is rare. It can cause meningitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, myocarditis, low platelet count and orchitis. In very rare cases, it causes liver failure.

Girl gets her fever checked with a thermometer

What should be done before diagnosis?

There are no specific vaccines or drugs to treat mononucleosis. The treatment therefore focuses on relieving the symptoms.

Typically, the disease resolves on its own within three to four weeks. Some symptoms such as fatigue and fever may last for another week.

The doctor will decide which medicines the child should take. They usually use analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs. If complications occur, they can also be given corticosteroids depending on the case.

It is best to keep the child separate from other people and ensure that they drink plenty of water and rest,  especially in the acute phase of the disease. They should avoid contact sports and physical activity for at least three weeks.

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