Visit our foundation to give a gift.
View Locations Near Me
Main Campus – Hartford
Connecticut Children’s – Waterbury
Urgent Care – Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Danbury
Connecticut Children’s Surgery Center at Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Fairfield
Search All Locations
Find a doctor
Find A Doctor
Request an Appointment
Amenities and Services
Who’s Who on Care Team
Getting Ready for Surgery
What to Expect—Picture Stories
Pay a Bill
Understanding the Different Fees
Pricing Transparency and Estimates
Raytheon Technologies Family Resource Center
Family Advisory Council
Legal Advocacy: Benefits, Education, Housing
Electronic Health Records
Share Your Story
Pay a Bill
Login to MyChart
Clinical Support Services Referrals
About the Network
Join the Network
Graduate Medical Education
Continuing Medical Education
MOC/Practice Quality Improvement
Educating Practices in the Community (EPIC)
Learning & Performance
Meet our Physician Relations Team
Request Medical Records
Join our Referring Provider Advisory Board
View our Physician Callback Standards
Read & Subscribe to Medical News
Register for Email Updates
Update Your Practice Information
Refer a Patient
Find and Print Health Info
Health Information For Kids
Have you ever heard of the “kissing disease”? If you said that it’s mono, you’re right!
Infectious mononucleosis, called mono for short, is usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). EBV is one of the most common viruses around. Most people will get infected with it at some point in their life. Babies and young kids who get infected with EBV often don’t feel any symptoms, or sometimes they have mild symptoms that feel like a common cold.
But older kids and teenagers who get infected with EBV are likely to feel symptoms such as fever and a very sore throat.
Mono is contagious, which means someone who has it can spread the virus to other people. Even though it’s called the kissing disease, there are other ways you can get mono. They usually involve contact with saliva (spit). So sharing straws, toothbrushes, or food from the same plate can spread mono.
At first, people don’t feel sick after getting infected with the EBV virus. The symptoms come a month or two later. And some people don’t get any symptoms at all. So they can spread the virus and not even know it. That’s why it’s important not to share things like forks, straws, water bottles, or lip gloss at school.
Mono can cause you to feel really, really tired, but you may have other symptoms, too. These include:
It may seem like you have the flu or strep throat because the symptoms are so much alike. The only way to tell for sure if you have mono is to go to a doctor, who will do an exam to see if you have mono. Sometimes the doctor will do a blood test to be sure.
If you have mono, you probably will need plenty of rest. This might mean no school for a while, no sports, and no running outside playing with friends or even wrestling with your little brother.
While you’re resting, drink plenty of water and other fluids. You can ask your mom or dad to give you a pain reliever if you have a fever, sore throat, or aching muscles. Don’t take any aspirin, though, because that can put you at risk for a condition called Reye syndrome, which can be dangerous.
Some kids with mono might not feel very sick at all. But it’s very important to listen to your body. A kid who has mono should tell a parent if he or she starts feeling worse. And if the kid feels tired and run down, it’s the body’s way of saying more rest is needed.
Kids who play contact sports (like football or basketball) need to skip them for about a month after the illness, especially if their spleen is swollen. Your doctor will let you know when it’s safe for you to get back in the game.
Mono usually goes away after a few weeks, even though you’ll have to take it easy for a bit. Make sure you wash your hands after you cough or sneeze. Keep your straws, forks, and toothbrushes to yourself, and… no kissing for a few months!
You may have had a cold sore, but what are they exactly? Find out in this article for kids.
You know they can hurt you, but what are these invisible creatures? Find out in this article for kids.
What are fevers? Why do kids get them? Get the facts on temperatures and fevers in this article for kids.
Chickenpox is a virus that causes red, itchy bumps. Find out more in this article for kids.
When germs get inside your body, they can multiply and cause an infection.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2020 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved.
Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.