Mononucleosis, or mono, is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a common virus
that most kids are exposed to at some point while growing up. Infants and young kids
infected with EBV usually have very mild symptoms or none at all. But teens and young
adults who become infected often develop mono symptoms. The flu-like symptoms caused
by mono usually go away on their own after a few weeks of rest.
Mono (sometimes called the "kissing disease") is spread through kissing, coughing,
sneezing, and any contact with the saliva of a contagious person — such as sharing
a straw, drinking glass, eating utensil, or toothbrush.
Mono symptoms include fever, sore throat with swollen tonsils, fatigue, weakness,
and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms are often mistaken for strep throat or the
Other symptoms include:
lack of appetite
Students with mono might need to:
be absent from school for several weeks
have homework and assignments sent home and tests rescheduled
avoid gym class and sports until they get clearance from a doctor (the virus
can cause the spleen to enlarge, creating a risk of rupture )
modify their school day due to fatigue or other symptoms
What Teachers Can Do
Mono needs to run its course naturally. Symptoms usually last 2 to 4 weeks, and
some students feel tired for several weeks longer.
If students with mono are absent for a long period of time, try to find ways for
them to keep up with assignments so they don't fall behind and feel overwhelmed when
they return to school.
Teachers can help prevent the spread of infections in their classrooms by:
encouraging students to wash their hands with soap and water often
reminding them to always cough or sneeze into their elbow or a tissue, not their
reminding them to not share drinks, straws, eating utensils, toothbrushes, or
similar personal items