Glandular fever is a viral infection caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus ( EBV ). The infection is transmitted through saliva of patients who contain the virus. After entering the patient's body, the virus will incubate for six weeks until the patient shows symptoms that are usually characterized by fever and fatigue.
Glandular fever infection can be transmitted by sufferers to healthy people through direct contact (such as kissing) or through the air exhaled through coughing, and saliva when he sneezes. In addition, the spread can also occur through intermediaries for items that have been exposed to viruses from sufferers, such as eating or bathing equipment.
Transmission of glandular fever is still susceptible to occur even though the patient has been declared cured, because the virus can still survive in saliva for several years. Therefore, patients are encouraged to make efforts to prevent the virus from spreading to other people.
Glandular fever can affect a person at any age, but is common in adolescents. During a glandular fever infection, the body's immune system will form antibodies that can last a lifetime, so people who have had this infection rarely suffer from the same infection again.
Although it is known that there are no drugs that can cure glandular fever, a combination of drug administration, rest, and adequate fluid intake can relieve symptoms. The condition of patients with glandular fever will usually improve within a few weeks.
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Symptoms of Gland Fever
The symptoms commonly felt by people with glandular fever are:
- Swollen glands, especially in the neck and under the armpit.
- Flu-like symptoms, namely fever, dizziness, and muscle aches.
- Throat pain
Causes of Gland Fever
Glandular fever is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). As mentioned above, EBV can be transmitted from patients to healthy people through saliva, either through direct contact or through the mediation of items that have been contaminated with the virus. Exposure to this virus results in infection of the cell lining the throat. This infection then spreads into white blood cells through the lymphatic system (lymph) in the body.
Although infected with the EBV virus, not everyone will experience symptoms of glandular fever. People who are infected but show no symptoms are referred to as asymptomatic carriers, which can transmit EBV to others.
Most people with glandular fever will generally recover within 2 or 3 weeks after symptoms appear. In some cases, this disease can last for more than one year with occasional recurrence of symptoms. However, antibodies to the EBV virus will form for a lifetime after infection, so people with glandular fever will not experience the same disease again after being completely cured.
Diagnosis of Gland Fever
To diagnose glandular fever, the doctor needs to ask about the patient's symptoms and medical history. Subsequent physical examination will be carried out, especially to see signs of glandular fever, such as swollen glands, liver and spleen. The diagnosis will be strengthened by a blood test that aims to ascertain whether the cause of the symptoms is EBV virus and not due to the rubella virus, measles, or toxoplasmosis which causes symptoms similar to glandular fever. If the test results are negative, but the doctor still suspects the patient is suffering from glandular fever, then a regular blood test will be recommended for the next few weeks.
Treatment of Gland Fever
Glandular fever generally can heal itself within a few weeks. Although no cure has been found, there are several ways that can be done to control the symptoms suffered. These methods include:
- Increase fluid intake to avoid dehydration. Fluid intake can be obtained from water or unsweetened fruit juice. In addition, avoid drinking alcohol because it can interfere with the condition of the liver that has weakened during infection with this virus.
- A lot of rest. This is needed to restore the condition of patients with glandular fever. During the first month, avoid sports that contain physical contact or activities that are too heavy because the condition of the weakened spleen during a viral infection of glandular fever.
- Prevent the spread of infection. Avoid kissing other people, coughing or sneezing without wearing a mask, or sharing items. In addition, always keep clean to minimize the spread of the virus.
- Take painkillers. Some of these drugs can be purchased freely on the market. Examples are paracetamol and ibuprofen .
- Gargling with a mixture of warm water and salt to relieve sore throat.
Hospital care is also needed if the patient has difficulty breathing or swallowing, and experiencing severe abdominal pain. In hospitals, patients will usually be given an antibiotic infusion, corticosteroid injections, or painkillers. Although rare, emergency surgery such as removal of the spleen (splenectomy) can also be done if the spleen has ruptured.
Complications of Gland Fever
Some of the risks that arise as a result of glandular fever include:
- Spleen Ruptures. Glandular fever can cause the spleen to swell and risk rupture.
- Decreased blood cells , such as anemia (decreased red blood cells) and neutropenia (decreased neutrophil white blood cells).
- Prolonged fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome .
- Complications in the nerves , such as encephalitis (infection of the brain), Bell's palsy (temporary muscle paralysis on one side of the face), Guillain-Barre syndrome (nerve inflammation), and viral meningitis.
- Secondary infection . Glandular fever infection that weakens the body's immune system will allow bacteria to exemplify secondary infections such as pneumonia and pericarditis.