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Caring for Children with Mono

When I was 16, I contracted mononucleosis. The initial mono symptoms, such as sore throat and fatigue, were less bothersome than the lingering sense of malaise that seemed to hover over me. I mentioned this to the sympathetic ear of my cousin's husband, who is a physician, and he told me that all major viruses, including the Epstein-Barr virus, are accompanied by depression to a lesser or greater degree. It amazed me how this simple piece of information lessened my sadness.

So speak to your child and watch him for signs of depression. Bring him to see your family physician if you are in doubt about his emotional well-being. Here are some tips to help you and your child cope better with mono.

  • Remember that a healthy diet, including the important vitamins, is something you can do that is proactive. There is no magic cure, no medicine that can heal your child's illness. A healthy diet is your best weapon against the mono virus.
  • Displaying a positive attitude to sick children helps keep their morale up.
  • Lozenges, soup, and hot drinks can be soothing to sore throats and help keep your child nourished and well-hydrated. An anesthetic throat rinse or spray can be effective; make sure you choose one that is age-appropriate for your child.
  • Use Tylenol as directed, but be careful not to use it for too lengthy a period of time and no more than 3 or 4 times a day. Check with your physician for instructions on exact dosage.
  • Keep family members as quiet as possible while your patient is resting and praise his siblings when they care enough to speak in hushed voices.
  • Rest, rest, rest is what your child needs most. Some soft music can help lull a contrary child to sleep.
  • Check with your doctor before your child returns to school and to regular activities. A half day of school might be advisable at first. Participation in contact sports is ill-advised until the spleen returns to its pre-virus size.

However, contact your physician if your child's skin is yellow, or he has trouble breathing. These are signs of complications and require treatment.



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