Childhood diseases – Glandular Fever

Glandular fever

Glandular fever is a viral infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Typical symptoms of glandular fever include sore throat, swollen glands (lymph nodes) and extreme tiredness or fatigue.

Glandular fever usually affects children aged 10-16 and young adults aged 16-25. The virus is spread through the saliva of an infected person either through airborne droplets or commonly from kissing (it is sometimes referred to a ‘kissing disease’). After infection, symptoms often appear anywhere from 30-50 days later.

Symptoms of glandular fever
– 1-2 weeks of flu-like symptoms can be present before the outbreak of the disease
– Sore throat
– Swollen tonsils (usually covered in a white coating)
– High temperature (fever)
– Fatigue
– Aching muscles
– Headache
– Sweats
– Abdominal pain (possibly an enlarged spleen)
– Swollen glands (known as lymph nodes – located in the throat, armpits and groin area)
– Enlarged liver (jaundice may develop)
– Rash

Treatment for glandular fever
There is no known treatment for the virus other than easing the symptoms.

To help ease glandular fever symptoms your child should:
– Drink plenty of fluids
– Drink hot drinks to ease a sore throat
– Get plenty of rest
– Return to physical activity slowly

You can run the risk of damaging the spleen by taking part in heavy physical activity so children should avoid exercise until four weeks after a full recovery. Glandular fever typically resolves itself after 2-4 weeks.

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