Information on Mononucleosis

There have been some cases of mononucleosis (or “mono”) reported on  campus in recent weeks.  Because parents have asked the Parent Programs office about mono, we talked to the Student Health Service, who provided this information.

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For most students, mononucleosis is a self-limiting illness that lasts for about 2-3 weeks.  Students diagnosed with mono should avoid contact sports (because of the risk of rupturing the spleen) and alcohol (because of mild hepatitis that commonly accompanies mono).  Mono is a common infection in college students, although most individuals contract this virus before coming to college (in fact, most cases occur before kindergarten).  Roommates are no more likely to contract mono than other people on campus.

Common complications of mono include:

  • significantly enlarged tonsils which require treatment with steroids (e.g., prednisone, a cortisone like medicine) to shrink the tonsils
  • fatigue (usually the fatigue resolves after 2-3 weeks)
  • feelings of depression (difficulty sleeping despite being fatigued, difficulty concentrating on school work, feelings of being isolated)

The Student Health Service usually sees students with mono weekly until their symptoms resolve; students are seen more frequently if they are having any complications.   Since mono is caused by a particular virus (the Epstein-Barr virus or EBV), antibiotics do not help unless a student also has another infection on top of the mono such as streptococcal bacterial infection (“strep throat”).  Antiviral medications don’t work against EBV either.

The vast majority of students with mono do very well and do not need any academic adjustments, apart from occasionally having a test or paper postponed for a few days.  Students with mono should contact their faculty members.  They should also contact the Office of Academic Advising if they need assistance negotiating extensions of course work, tests, exams, etc.

The Student Health Service encourages students with mono to:

  • rest as much as possible
  • avoid alcohol and contact sports
  • focus on recovery and academic work and letting extracurricular activities and social activities have a much lower priority
  • maintain good hydration and good nutrition
  • communicate with their professors concerning the illness, and
  • continue to have regular contact with the Student Health office until recovered

Contact

For more information on how to contact the Office of Family Engagement, please visit our contact page.

If Your Student Has a Problem

One of the most important ways parents and families can help their students in college is by encouraging them to solve their own problems. Please bookmark or print out this Stop, Drop, and Roll flyer so you have it when your student contacts you with a problem.  Also, the flyer lists contact information for urgent and serious concerns where family intervention might be appropriate.

Orientation 2016 Handouts and Slide Shows

Select information and presentations from Orientation 2016 are available online.