You feel tired, your throat is sore, you have swollen tonsils, and you have a splitting headache. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have mono. There's only one way to find out. It's time for some mono testing with your primary care or urgent care provider.
But before testing, let's find out more about mono, and its source, the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
What Is Mono?
Mono is short for 'infectious mononucleosis,' which occurs due to the presence of a virus. For example, the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is one of the many (and most common) culprits.
Don't worry, as EBV is extremely common, with people often experiencing it at least once in their lives.
Since the Epstein-Barr virus transfers through saliva, mono is informally referred to as "the kissing disease." But it fits, as kissing is the leading cause of the infection spreading.
But disregard the playful moniker for now; mono isn't restricted to acts of affection. In fact, just sharing the same cups or eating utensils can spread mono quickly. Anything that has people come into contact with saliva is a potential infection source.
Common Mono Symptoms
The most common mononucleosis signs and symptoms are:
- Sore throat
- Neck pain
- Swollen lymph nodes, especially around the throat
The symptoms of mononucleosis are often mild. Symptoms clear up by themselves within a month or so. Symptoms like fatigue will likely last much longer than sore throat or fever. These may vary from person to person.
However, some short and long-term complications can arise from a diagnosis of infectious mononucleosis. For example, you may experience jaundice, anemia, and possibly an enlarged spleen. While these complications are rare, it's well worth consulting with your doctor about mono and how it runs its course through your body.
In short, treating mono is all about treating specific symptoms.
The Mono Testing Process
Luckily for those suspected of suffering from a bout of mononucleosis, the test is straightforward. Primary care providers or urgent care doctors often perform the test. The test is straightforward and requires zero preparation beforehand, needing only a blood sample from the patient.
There are a few tests to determine the presence of EBV and mono.
EBV Antibody Test
The EBV antibody test requires a sample of the patient's blood. A blood sample is collected from a vein in the arm.
Doctors will then send the sample to the laboratory for mono testing.
The test results, whether your blood samples contain EBV antibodies, determine if you're suffering from a bout of mono. EBV antibodies are your immune system's way of combating EBV and mono.
Since mono has such a large incubation window, it's important to test more than once. Multiple testing of blood samples ensures the EBV antibody sample is significant enough to detect.
The monospot test detects heterophile antibodies in the body. Whereas EBV tests check for the presence of EBV, monospot is a rapid test used to detect mononucleosis in particular.
Again, it's crucial to perform mono testing multiple times, as the Monospot test may come back negative if there aren't enough heterophile antibodies.
If the test shows up positive, there are heterophile antibodies in your system, and you have mono.
How Long Is The Mono Incubation Period?
The incubation period for mono is about four to six weeks.
Who Is At Risk For Mono?
The groups most affected by mono are young adults and adolescents. However, no one age group is exempt from mono and EBV.
Mononucleosis Testing In Atlanta With WestsideMed
At WestsideMed in Atlanta, urgent care doctors and medical professionals offer comprehensive tests for EBV and mono, with the quick diagnosis of viral infections.
WestsideMed serves the Atlanta, Georgia, area and provides many services, including COVID-19 testing, EKG, vaccinations, and even annual physicals.
Are you looking for an EPV test? Or need some advice on how to deal with positive test results? The medical experts at WestsideMed are here for you.