By Neepa Sevak
Infectious mononucleosis, "Mono," and "Kissing disease" are all expressions commonly used for the illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is transmitted through the saliva. Young children can be infected from the saliva of playmates or family members. Adolescents with the virus can spread EBV through intimate kissing (hence its popular name, "the kissing disease"). A person with "mono" can also pass the disease by coughing or sneezing, causing small droplets of infected saliva to be floating in the air which can be inhaled by others. Sharing a glass or cup and blood transfusion can also transmit the virus from one person to another. Infectious Mononucleosis is often misunderstood as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome due to the similarity of symptoms and also the same virus is involved in both the cases.
Symptoms of Mononucleosis
Once the virus has infected an individual, a period of four to eight weeks generally passes before that person starts showing all or some of the symptoms like:
- High fever and chills
- Severe sore throat, sometimes even strep throat
- Swollen tonsils
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits
- General lack of energy, fatigue, depression
- Loss of appetite
- White patches on back of throat
- Muscle aches
- Skin rash
- Enlargement of the spleen
- Enlargement of the liver - hepatitis
Complications of Mononucleosis
Some of the exceptionally rare complications of EBV infection include:
- Blood disorders like anemia
- Lymph node swelling can obstruct the airways causing breathing problems
- Bell’s palsy where the facial muscles on one side of the face get weakened or paralyzed
- Rupture of the spleen
- Myocarditis where the heart muscle gets inflamed
- Aseptic meningitis where the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord get inflamed
- Multiple sclerosis which is a muscle weakening disease
- Guillain-Barre syndrome which is a nervous system disorder that can paralyze muscles
Homeopathic Approach to Mononucleosis
Homeopathy believes that a person is at risk to any acute or chronic infections when the immune system of the body is intensely affected by certain causative factors like stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, emotional trauma and injury and also exposure to various viruses and bacteria. Homeopathy identifies and successfully addresses the causative factor that is an important issue in lowering the immune system; hence homeopathic treatment with a few self care measures is the only best treatment for Infectious Mononucleosis. Homeopathy can be an exceptionally successful approach in decreasing susceptibility in acute and chronic infections, as well as in treating the infection itself. The homeopathic constitutional approach always considers the illness in the context of the whole person taking into account the mental, emotional, physical symptoms and the circumstances surrounding their lives. Its purpose is balance and harmony on all levels by enhancing the body’s own defenses. Homeopathy strengthens a person's immune and defense system, hence treating the active infection and also having long term benefits by preventing recurrence.
The basis of Homeopathy is based on the principle of similars that is “LIKE CURES LIKE”, with emphasis that a microdose of a substance will heal symptoms by stimulating a person’s immune and defense system that this substance would be capable of causing in large doses. Hence, homeopathic constitutional treatment is ideal and has shown an overwhelming positive response in treating infectious mononucleosis.
Self Care Measures
- Get plenty of rest.
- A well balanced nutritious diet with plenty of fluids should be taken. Avoid refined foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and saturated fats. Eat more fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, protein and essential fatty acids (found in nuts, seeds and cold water fish).
- Raw garlic should be taken daily due to its anti – viral and immunity enhancing properties.
- Gargle with saltwater to soothe your sore throat.
- Avoid contact sports and heavy lifting to reduce the risk of rupturing your spleen, which may become enlarged during an episode of Mononucleosis.
- Deep breathing and slow walking in fresh air can increase the energy levels.
- Emotional support can help you and your loved ones deal with the uncertain outlook and the ups and downs of this illness.
- Lifestyle changes - you can slow down and avoid excessive physical and psychological stress. This may save your energy for essential activities at home or work and help you cut back on less important activities.
Most people recover fully from infectious mononucleosis after several weeks. However, some may take several months to regain normal energy levels. Hence, every person suffering from infectious mononucleosis must consider homeopathy to provide relief and lifetime cure.