Most people are familiar with mononucleosis as “mono” or “the kissing disease.” It’s a condition that usually passes from person to person through saliva. It’s most often associated with adolescents, but people of any age can get it. Older adults who get mono are more likely to develop liver problems than are people of other age groups. Understanding mono can help your aging relative to avoid it and help you to care for them if they should catch it.
Mono is a contagious disease caused by a virus. Usually, it is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), but there are other viruses that can cause mono. Although saliva is the most common mode of transmission, the virus can also be passed through other bodily fluids. An older adult might catch mono by being around someone with the virus who coughs or sneezes, or by sharing eating utensils with someone who has the virus.
To prevent your aging relative from getting the condition, remind them not to share eating utensils with anyone who has mono or who is showing symptoms of the condition.
The symptoms of mono can vary from one person to the next. Also, certain age groups are more likely to develop certain symptoms. Some common symptoms of mono are:
• Sore throat.
• Swollen tonsils and lymph nodes.
• Swelling in the spleen.
Older adults aren’t as likely to have swelling in their glands or a sore throat. However, they are more likely to experience inflammation in the liver and muscle aches.
Treating and Managing Mono
Mono is caused by a virus, so antibiotics are ineffective for treating it. Depending on how severe the older adult’s symptoms are, a doctor may prescribe medications that support bodily systems, like the liver. To manage the symptoms, doctors usually recommend:
• Over the counter pain relievers and medications to bring fever down. Always check with the older adult’s doctor before using over the counter medications as they may interfere with other medications the person is already on.
• Gargling with salt water to relieve a sore throat.
• Plenty of rest.
• Lots of fluids to prevent dehydration.
If your aging relative should get mono, elder care can help them with symptom management. Home care providers can remind the senior to take medications. They can also prepare salt water for the older adult to gargle with. Elder care can ensure your family member drinks enough water and other fluids to keep them from getting dehydrated. And, while the senior rests, an elder care provider can take care of things around the house, like cooking, cleaning, laundry, and basic pet care.
For Elder Care in Woolwich Township, NJ, and the surrounding areas, call and talk to us at Home to Stay Healthcare Solutions (856) 321-1500.