When Students Get Mono
One of the problems with going away to college or university for the first time is that you are suddenly exposed to a new environment, a lot of new people, and a wide variety of new germs and viruses.
College students are generally hit quite hard by mono since they are often away from home for the first time and trying to balance many things in their lives simultaneously. Therefore, college students need to understand how to cope with it during this busy time in their lives.
Register with a doctor
Before leaving for college, check your family's Health Plan to see if you are covered while you are away at college, and don't forget to see what sort of Health Insurance your college offers its students.
When you get to college, make sure that you find a doctor or register with your Student Health Center before you get sick. The last thing you want to do if you don't feel well is to try and find a doctor to treat you, or even worse, find out that you aren't covered by insurance.
If you haven't already had it, you are now a prime candidate for the disease. They don't call it the ‘kissing disease' for no reason.
Tips to avoid infection
To try to avoid infection don't share cups and toothbrushes
Keep your immune system in good condition.
Eat properly, take a vitamin supplement
Make sure you get enough sleep
If You Get Mono
As mono can really knock you flat if you get sick, you probably won't feel well enough to attend classes. Make sure you get lots of rest, plenty of fluids, and stay away from aspirin as it can cause complications.
Other pain relievers such as ibuprofen are normally fine. As far as your professors are concerned, let them know that you are sick so they can take it into account.
If you feel up to doing some work get one of your classmates to bring you the assignments, so that you can at least keep up with the reading.
You don't want to get too far behind or risk losing any credits, as that will really make you feel sick! Most colleges have a policy regarding absences so make sure you let the admin department know you are ill; you don't want to be unfairly penalized because you are ill.
How Do You Know If It's Really Mono?
During college, people are often tired. It's very common for students to complain that they are exhausted, that they are achy and that they want to sleep.
While these are symptoms associated with mono, it's possible that you are just tired. In order to know that you actually have mono, you'll have to have three main factors.
You'll have symptoms like those of the flu with fatigue, sweats, sore throat, loss of appetite, nausea, headaches and more, you will need to have a positive mono test done by your doctor as well as a complete blood count (CBC) with differential.
There will be changes in your white blood cells which your doctor will test and interpret. If you have only one of these factors but not all, you may have something else wrong with you (or you may just need to sleep more during college!). See a doctor and have an examination done to rule out other health issues.
Juggling It All
If you find out that you do have mono, you'll have to abandon your busy schedule for quite awhile. There is no cure for mono except for rest and time.
This is not easy for an active college student to hear - but it's the only thing that is going to get you better. The disease usually peaks after about three weeks of the illness.
You may have had the illness for a bit before knowing that you did, and your doctor can help you to determine how long you'll need to rest. The virus affects your lymph glands, your spleen and your liver and you can damage these areas of the body if you overdo it and don't rest.
Getting The Word Out
You may need to miss tests, sports practices, and other events in your busy college life for awhile. This may be very hard for you, but it's very important for your health.
Bring a note to your professors from your doctor so that they will know that this is serious. Negotiate with them a wide window for you to rest and ask for extensions on any pressing work.
Make sure to take mono seriously - your body certainly will! You'll need to be fully recovered, with your doctor's permission, before you resume your busy life. The good news is that you'll be immune to mono now and can never get it again!
When You Feel Better
Even when you feel well enough to go back to class, don't rush headlong back into student life; you don't want to suffer a relapse. It's especially important that you don't participate in contact, collision or high risk sports for at least 3-4 weeks after you feel better as there is the risk of rupturing your spleen.
If you are a serious athlete you should make sure to get your doctor's ok and even possibly an x-ray or ultrasound before resuming your sport. Mono can also affect the liver, so you should avoid alcohol during your illness and for a couple of months afterwards.
Even if you only have mild symptoms of mono, you should still take it easy while you are ill and also after you start to feel better as sometimes it can take months to fully recover if you do too much too soon.
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