How Do Adults Get Mononucleosis?


Quick Answer

Adults get mononucleosis in the same manner most other people do, which is through contact with the saliva of an infected person that has this viral infection. Although this condition affects mainly young people, anyone can become infected, according to MedlinePlus. Other groups of people who may be at a higher risk for mononucleosis are caregivers or health professionals such as nurses.

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Full Answer

The Epstein-Barr virus is responsible for mononucleosis, and adults can get it when they kiss an infected person or if this person coughs too close to them. The incubation period for the Epstein-Barr virus can range between 4 to 6 weeks, reports Mayo Clinic. Symptoms may manifest slowly and can include feeling tired, an inflammation of lymph nodes, fever, inflamed tonsils, and headaches. People also develop strep throat or a skin rash.

Diagnosing mononucleosis can involve an exam by a doctor, who checks for the symptoms. There are different tests that may be performed such as a blood test that checks the level of white blood cells. Mononucleosis causes white blood cell levels in the body to be higher than normal. Another possible test is an antibody titer test.

Treatment options include taking antiviral medications, steroid drugs and other medicines to alleviate symptoms such as fever and headaches. The symptoms will slowly go away , but it can take up to 3 months for a symptom such as fatigue to resolve, reports MedlinePlus.

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