Childhood diseases – 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)
- Aching muscles
- 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)
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.