Mono Stinks

There are a lot of myths about mono. Perhaps the most spread myth is that once you’ve had it, you can never get it again. That is true of most viruses, and mono is caused by a virus, the Epstein-Barr virus, to be exact. The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV, for short) is highly contagious. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 95% of the earth’s population has been exposed to it. Most people come into contact with EBV as children, and their immune system fights it off without any noticeable symptoms. Whether there are symptoms present or not, the virus can still be spread to others. Once you’ve had the virus, it remains in your body for life, usually in a dormant state. However, it can reawaken, usually during times of extreme stress or fatigue, and may or may not be symptomatic.

When I took Sam to the ER two weeks ago, I told the doctor I was concerned that it may be mono because his symptoms were almost identical to his bout with mono two years ago. The doctor treated me like I was an idiot and told me, quite emphatically, that it is impossible to get mono a second time. Sam’s pediatrician ordered blood work to test for mono, and the results came back positive, just as they did two years ago. I have done extensive reading on the subject and talked about it with friends who are RN’s, and I have come to the conclusion that the ER doctor didn’t know what she was talking about. The fact is, you can get mono more than once, and often, the second time is worse than the first.

Sam’s second go-around with mono has been worse in some respects, but I think it will be of shorter duration. I’m very glad of that, since I don’t want him to have to miss as much school as he did two years ago. This time, it came on stronger and attacked his liver badly.  For a week and a half, he kept running temps in the 100-102 range and was lethargic to the point of not even playing his new video games. This past Monday, the doctor prescribed steroids which kicked in within 24 hours. Almost overnight he started feeling stronger, and every day this week he has been able to be up a little longer than the day before.

He has a doctor’s appointment Saturday for a re-check. I’m hoping he gets the okay to return to school next week. At the same time, I don’t want him to go back too soon and suffer a relapse.

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