If you thought that mono affects only the kids in college dorms, think again. If you feel like you've been hit by a Mac truck and you can't get out of bed before 10 am and need a nap nearly every day, it's time to drag yourself to the doctor for a mono spot test.
What Is Mono?
Mononucleosis (mono) is an infectious disease caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV; a virus in the herpes family). EPV is very common; most people become infected at some point in their lifetime. In fact, in the U.S., 95% of adults between 35-40 years of age have been infected.
While children may become infected with EBV and experience few or no symptoms, when adults are infected, they'll experience infectious mono 35-50% of the time.
Click To Enlarge.
When Adults Are Infected With EBV They'll
Experience Infectious Mono 35-50% Of The Time.
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph glands
- Extreme fatigue
- Night sweats
In some cases, mono can lead to enlargement of the spleen or liver and in rare cases the central nervous system may be infected or heart problems may result. If your spleen becomes enlarged, it could burst leading to sharp pain on the left side of your abdomen. This is a medical emergency and may require immediate surgery.
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If Your Spleen Bursts As A Result Of Mono It Is
A Medical Emergency And Will Require Surgery.
Typically, the only way you'll get EBV is through direct contact with the saliva of someone infected. Kiss, drink or eat (this is a fantastic way to share germs) after someone who has EBV or let a small child slobber all over your face and you may end up with EBV too!
But, mono is far from straightforward. First, it takes an incubation period of 4 to 6 weeks where it is cooking in your system and getting ready to knock you flat on your behind. Second, even if you are exposed to someone with infectious mono, you may not be at risk for developing infectious mono if you've been infected with EBV at some point in your life. And, you may not know if you've had EBV during your life. So basically, you may or may not get mono if you swap spit with someone who has EBV.
Not only does it take a while for the symptoms of mono to appear but, you may feel sick for months (most people feel better in about 3 months). If you feel bad for four months or more, it is important to go back to the doctor to make sure there isn't something else going on like chronic fatigue syndrome or infection with another virus. EBV lasting over six months is called chronic EBV infection.
When you go to the doctor, he will look at your throat, feel your lymph glands and give you a good look over. But, the only way to determine if you definitely have mono is to get a blood test. An elevated white blood cell count, strange looking white blood cells and a positive mono spot test means you have infectious mono.
The treatment for mono doesn't involve any medication. Instead, patients are told to sleep, eat well and don't exercise (you can probably walk if your physician clears you to do this but, it may make you feel worse in the long run). Contact sports and straining are absolutely not allowed as your spleen could burst if it is enlarged.
Even though mono lasts a long time, you don't need to isolate yourself since infection with the virus is also common in healthy people and they too can pass it on to others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "transmission of the virus is almost impossible to prevent."
How Bodybuilding Can Help You Recover From Mono
Bodybuilders Are Patient
As a bodybuilder, you are ambitious yet you understand that changes don't just appear overnight. Instead, any goal is achieved through hard work, dedication and consistent effort. And, injuries and illness happen and temporarily take you on a detour but, the best way to recover from mono is to follow the doctor's orders with precision and eat a healthy diet so when you come back, you come back strong.
Bodybuilders Are Health Conscious
One day I sat in a conference and watched three physician assistants swap drinks, and therefore germs, with one another. The entire time I watched this I thought "wait, don't they know better?" As a bodybuilder, you aren't tempted to "try someone's beer" or bite into your friend's dinner. You take the proper precautions, wipe down your gym equipment and in general, take care of yourself. After all, close contact with others and germy surfaces is one of the best ways to get sick (not to mention eating or drinking after someone). By being health conscious, you are more likely to prevent infection with mono or infection with colds and the flu while you have mono (because there's nothing like being slapped right back down when you are already sick).
Additional Tips To Help You Recover From Mono
Eat An Immune Boosting Diet
A diet loaded with vitamin C and zinc rich foods as well as protein will keep your immune system strong. And, there is some evidence that glutamine can prevent illness with the body is put through major stress.
Rest and more rest will help you feel better.
If at first you feel helpless with mono, rest assured, you'll quickly get back on your physique or health path once you recover. If you exercise with mono you may feel worse the next day or worse yet (with contact exercise or straining) cause your spleen to burst. Many bodybuilders have been through mono (check the forum topics) and you'll get through just fine with a lot of rest, lots of water, a good diet and oh, more rest.