Glandular fever is a type of viral infection that mostly affects the age group of young adults. This condition is also known as infectious mononucleosis, or "mono".
Who is affected from glandular fever?
Glandular fever can affect people of all ages, but most of the cases are seen in teenagers and young adults.
Most Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infections are thought to occur at the time of childhood and cause only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
However, if a person develops an Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection during early adulthood, they can develop glandular fever.
Once you have had glandular fever, it is unlikely you will develop it again. This is because people develop lifelong immunity after the initial infection.
What causes glandular fever?
The primary cause of Glandular fever is Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). This virus can be found in the saliva of infected people and it can spread through:
- kissing – glandular fever is often referred to as the "kissing disease"
- exposure to coughs and sneezes
- sharing eating and drinking utensils, such as cups, glasses and unwashed cutlery
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) can be present in the saliva of someone who has had glandular fever for several months after their symptoms pass, and some people may continue to have the virus in their saliva on and off for years.
If you have Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), it's a good idea to take steps to avoid infecting others while you are ill, such as not kissing other people, but there's no need no need to avoid all contact with others as the chances of passing on the infection are generally low.
How glandular fever is diagnosed
Your doctor will first ask about your symptoms before carrying out a physical examination to diagnose glandular fever. They will look for characteristic signs of glandular fever, such as swollen glands, tonsils, liver and spleen.
Your doctor may also suggest having a blood test to help in confirming the diagnosis and extract infections that can cause similar symptoms like cytomegalovirus (CMV), rubella, mumps and toxoplasmosis.
Common symptoms of glandular fever include:
- a high temperature (fever)
- a severely sore throat
- swollen glands in the neck
- fatigue (extreme tiredness)
While the symptoms of glandular fever can be very unpleasant, most of them should pass within 2 to 3 weeks. Fatigue, however, can occasionally last several months.
How glandular fever is treated
There is no cure for glandular fever, but there are a number of simple treatments and measures that can help reduce the symptoms while you wait for your body to control the infection.
- drinking plenty of fluids
- having painkillers, like paracetamol or ibuprofen
- taking much amount of rest and gradually increasing your activity as your energy levels improve
Occasionally, antibiotics or corticosteroids may be used if you develop complications of glandular fever. Some people with specifically major symptoms may need to be looked after in hospital for a few days.