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How to diagnose glandular fever and how to prevent and treat it?

• Glandular fever is a type of viral infection.
• It is also known as infectious mononucleosis.
• It is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
• It is one of the most common viruses that can affect humans.
• Most EBV infections occur during early childhood.
• They usually produce few or no symptoms.
• The virus remains in the body for life, lying dormant in a number of throat and blood cells.
• During the infection, the immune system fabricates antibodies to fight the virus.
• This provides lifelong immunity.
• Therefore, it is rare to have more than one bout of glandular fever.
• The virus is contagious.
• It can be passed on by coming into contact with the saliva of someone who is currently infected.

Diagnosis of Glandular Fever

1. Physical examination
• Medical evaluation will include a description of the symptoms.
• A physical examination in order to detect swollen lymph nodes, tonsils, liver and spleen.

2. Blood tests
• Blood tests may be recommended in order to confirm the diagnosis.
There are two blood tests that can usually help to diagnose glandular fever:
Antibody test
• This is done to detect specific antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
White blood cell test
• If white blood cell numbers are higher than normal, it usually means the patient has an infection.
• Pregnancy – tests to determine whether there is rubella or toxoplasmosis (EBV does not harm the unborn baby).

What are the treatment options for glandular fever?

1. Plenty of rest
• Patients recover much faster if they are able to get complete rest during the initial month after symptoms arise.
• In fact, rest is sometimes the only option.
• This is as the patient is too tired and feels too sick to go about his/her daily routine.
• The National Health Service (NHS), UK, advises patients to do some light exercises after symptoms have gone.
• This is done in order to regain muscle strength.

2. Drink
• Drinking plenty of fluids helps prevent dehydration.
• This is especially true if there is fever.
• If sore throat symptoms are severe, the infected person may not want to drink.
• The patient should be monitored carefully to make sure fluid intake is adequate.

3. Painkillers
• Painkillers, such as ibuprofen or Tylenol (paracetamol) which can be bought over-the-counter (OTC) may help bring down a fever and reduce pain.
• Patients under 16 years of age must not be given aspirin.

4. Gargling
• Pharmacists may be able to help choose a suitable gargling solution.
• Some patients find that gargling with salt water helps sore throat symptoms.

5. Antibiotics
• Glandular fever is caused by a virus, not a bacterium.
• Antibiotics are used for killing bacteria.
• However, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics to prevent secondary infections.

6. Steroids
If the tonsils are very inflamed, a short course of steroids may be prescribed.

What are the complications of glandular fever?

• Ruptured spleen
• Secondary infections, such as
– Pneumonia
– Meningitis
– Heart inflammation
• Secondary infections are rare.
• A risk for patients with weakened immune systems.
• Prolonged fatigue

How to prevent glandular fever?

• Avoid drinking from another person’s cup.
• This is a common way for the Epstein-Barr virus to get passed.
• Also avoid touching any part of drinking fountains with your mouth.
• Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, if you are infected.
• Do not cough or sneeze into your hands.
• Wash your hands frequently.
• Keep a distance from individuals with glandular fever when eating.
• Do not share food with them.
• Even if you plan to use a different utensil, do not share. Also, do not let utensils touch.

Heal Your Body A-Z Glandular Fever Glandular Fever – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide

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