10 Symptoms of Mononucleosis

Mononucleosis, simply referred to as mono, is a contagious infection that usually results from Epstein-Barr virus. Since the virus is transmitted through saliva, mono is sometimes appropriately referred to as the “kissing disease”. Although mono can affect anyone irrespective of age, the illness is more pronounced among young adults and teens. Besides kissing, you can also get mononucleosis when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Sharing items such as food utensils with an infected person can also expose you to the virus that causes mono.

Mononucleosis may also result from other viruses besides the Epstein-Barr. Typically, mono is not a very serious condition, and people who have had mono may not be infected again for the rest of their life since they develop immunity against the infection. However, the complications associated with mono can be more life-threatening than the infection itself.

1. Pain While Swallowing

Pain while swallowing refers to any discomfort resulting from swallowing food, and it is a common symptom of mono. If you have swallowing pain, you will experience a strong squeezing or burning sensation down behind your breastbone or high in your neck region. But how does mono cause swallowing pain?

The virus that causes mononucleosis can also cause tonsillitis, a viral infection of the tonsils. Tonsils are double lymph nodes located on the two sides of the back of the throat, and they act as a defense mechanism against body infections. Tonsillitis causes tonsil swelling. Since swallowing process involves various muscles in the mouth, esophagus, and throat, any disorder in these parts of the digestive system makes it difficult to swallow food, leading to a painful sensation. The pain occurs when food rubs against the lining of the swollen tonsils while swallowing. Typically, pain while swallowing is accompanied with other symptoms of mono, including fevers.

It is important to understand that pain while swallowing may also result from other conditions, including strep throat and common cold. This explains why you need to contact your caregiver as soon as you begin experiencing swallowing pain. Failure to address the cause of swallowing pain may worsen the symptom, leading to other complications, such as chest pain, weight loss, and shortness of breath.