Mononucleosis, also known as the kissing disease, is a highly contagious viral infection that most often affects adolescents between 15 and 17. However, its contagion can occur in any type of person and during any time of life. This disease is associated with the presence in the body of the Epstein-Barr virus, a virus that belongs to the herpes virus family.
Mononucleosis in children must be detected early to avoid significant complications such as anemia or ruptured spleen. How do you know if a child has mononucleosis? How is this disease transmitted? These are some of the questions we answer in this FastlyHealarticle about kissing illness in children: contagion and symptoms.
What is kissing disease?
The kissing disease is known in medicine by the name mononucleosis, and it is the disease caused by contagion with the Epstein-Barr virus. To understand how this pathology is compiled in the body, it is essential to explain that white blood cells are the blood cells responsible for fighting any infection, disease, or microorganism that may affect health; for this reason, they are known as the body’s defenses.
There are different white blood cells, and each one has another vital function. For example, neutrophils, which increase in quantity when there is an infection in the body and bacteria are attacking; lymphocytes, which are those that increase when the body has been infected with a virus; eosinophils, which are associated with the presence of allergies and parasites, and monocytes, which are those that are affected by contagion with mononucleosis.
Mononuclear cells or monocytes increase in blood when the body has been infected with the following three viruses: cytomegalovirus, toxoplasma, and Epstein-Barr, the person responsible for kissing disease. To diagnose mononucleosis in children and adults, it will be necessary to perform a blood test to know the monocyte count, an antibody detection to know which microorganism is affecting the body, and a transaminase test to determine if there is an increase that may indicate liver inflammation. Given the altered result of these tests, the confirmation of the Epstein-Barr in the body, and the child’s symptoms, the diagnosis of the kissing disease is imminent.
How is the kissing disease spread?
Mononucleosis is very easy to spread and is known by the name of kissing disease because it is transmitted through saliva; therefore, the drops that emanate from the mouth or nose through sneezing and coughing are also considered a route of contagion. Kindergartens and schools are the places where contagion occurs most frequently. In the case of adolescents who become ill with mononucleosis, the disease is usually transmitted during the first kiss.
However, some people have been infected with the Epstein-Barr virus and never suffered from mononucleosis. These people are known as “healthy carriers,” Although they never have symptoms of illness, they can transmit the virus and spread it to other people. 95% of the population is believed to have ever been in contact with the kissing disease virus.
The chances of contagion are higher when the person with mononucleosis shows symptoms of the disease and even up to a few months after being cured. However, the period in which a person is contagious can vary from person to person. Since the Epstein-Barr virus can stay alive for hours after being out of the body, it is important to avoid sharing utensils or personal products such as a toothbrush to prevent kissing disease.
Mononucleosis symptoms in children
The kissing disease in children usually begins with a general malaise, tiredness, headache, and discomfort in the throat. As the disease progresses, the pain in the pharynx starts to worsen, and the tonsils become inflamed and covered by a yellowish-white film. It is usually suspected that it is the disease of the kiss when the neck glands feel swollen, and when touching them, they experience pain. A measles-like rash may also appear.
In very young children or infants, the disease usually develops like any other viral disease, with bodily discomfort and mucus. However, in older children, the symptoms of kissing illness are:
- Fever that could reach 39 ° C.
- Decay or weakness can take up to more than a month to disappear.
- Inflammation of the liver is found when the transaminases in the blood are high.
- Swollen spleen.
- Lack of appetite.
- Throat pain.
- Red spots on the skin.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpit.
- If the glands are swollen, there may be swelling of the eyelids.
Other less common symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes due to liver damage.
- Incrise of cardiac frecuency.
- Trouble breathing.
- Sensitivity to light.
Treatment of kissing disease in children
Rest is essential for a child to recover from mononucleosis fully, and treatment is primarily aimed at calming the symptoms of the disease. When the condition is very severe, steroid medications may be indicated. Antiviral medicines do not usually offer improvements or benefits.
Mononucleosis is not a disease that responds to antibiotic treatment. Therefore, the ideal would be to take antipyretics to control body temperature and over-the-counter pain relievers to improve general discomfort. Once 24 hours have passed without a fever, the child will begin to overcome the disease.
Tips to cure kissing disease
- Drink a lot of liquid.
- Gargle with warm salt water to decrease throat inflammation and irritation.
- Avoid any sport or physical exertion if the spleen is swollen.
- Keep rest until complete recovery.
- Avoid eating with other people’s cutlery or drinking in glasses to avoid that close people are also contagious.
- Wear a mask.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Kissing disease in children: contagion and symptoms, we recommend that you enter our Immune system category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.