by Paulina C '13

Pucker Up and Get Some Mono

It’s a summer day,
one of the hottest recorded
in years. There is no water
being sold in the vending
machine or at the deli
near the school. Luckily
you are safe, because the
only one person with a
full water bottle is your
best friend. You are most
likely to get a taste of it.
You, and a couple of other
friends. It’s a big bottle, so
it is passed around, like the
last Coke during the dessert,
until it is empty. The
following morning, several
calls enter the school. Various
students appeared to be
suffering fevers, headaches,
skin rashes and swelling.
They are showing the
symptoms of “The kissing
disease”, medically known
as Mononucleosis, an
infectious illness spread by
sharing bottles or utensils,
kissing, or any other way
which involves sharing
saliva with a person who
has already been infected.
People between the ages
of 10 and 35 are at most
risk of being infected, and
as stated by the New York
State Department of Health
(NYSDH) there is no vaccine
available for it.
According to the
Nemours Foundation, a
group that conducts studies
on teen’s health, Mononucleosis
is caused by the Epstein
– Barr Virus (EBV).
The virus responsible for
the disease is very common
and easily caught. Many
people have been exposed
to it during the course of
childhood. In fact, 30 to
40 percent of adolescents
with the virus develop
the Mono disease. This is
according to an article published
in the Science Daily.
But the EBV isn’t the only
type of virus that causes
this illness. Viruses such as
cytomegalovirus can also
result in Mono, or glandular
fever, as it is commonly
The kissing disease
is not a deadly illness, no
medication is required to
heal it, and in a matter of
3-4 weeks the disease will
go away by itself. Nonetheless,
the virus stays in
the throat during the illness
and for up to a year after
it. The problem is that,
according to the NYSDH,
even though the virus
“tends to become dormant
for a prolonged period”
after the first infection, it
“can later reactivate and
be shed from the throat
Although Mono
isn’t usually fatal, serious
(but rare) complications
can occur when infected.
According to the American
Academy of Family
Physicians, the main and
most feared complication
for patients with Mono
is the rupture (tearing) of
their spleen. The spleen
is a large gland located in
the upper left part of your
stomach; its job is to filter
your blood. The “glandular
fever” can cause this gland
to enlarge to the point of
bursting. Patients with this
complication can experience
pains under the chest,
feel light headed, fast heart
beating and lack of breath.
Another rare but serious
complication is “liver
inflammation” more commonly
known as hepatitis.
According to the news
channel CNN, hepatitis
can cause the “yellowing
of your skin and the whites
of your eyes (jaundice) occurs
occasionally-“. Many
other complications exist,
however, they are not as
There are limited
amount of precautions
you can take to prevent
“catching” Mononucleosis.
According to the American
Academy of Family
Physicians, the only ways
to prevent being infected
with the kissing disease
is not to exchange saliva
(share straws, eating utensils,
water bottles etc.) or
kiss anyone who might be
According to
CNN, an infected person
shows frequent headaches,
fever, sore throat, skin
rashes, weakness, loss of
appetite, swollen spleen
and swollen lymph nodes
located in your neck or
“Having mono is
very hard. I mean you’re
so used to sharing your bottle
and stuff with everyone
and then you just have to
stop! Its harder in this kind
of school where everyone
is very close. But you have
to do it to protect the sickness
from passing ‘round,”
said an anonymous BSGE
Mono victim. Being diagnosed
with Mono is very
difficult to live with, even
for a month. However, you
need to learn to conduct
with it. There is nothing
you can do to eliminate the
disease completely from
your body, but there are
some remedies that can
relieve your symptoms.
Get plenty of rest, drink
a lot of fluids, and if you
have sore throat, gargle salt
water, suck on hard candy
or a flavored popsicle stick.
Even more important…do
not share your water bottle.


By Mr. Lakhaney

TOK Teacher

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