Can my child play sports?
The same applies to children as to adults – they should never do sports, but rest instead. It is also important to note that they should not lift anything heavy. You should be very careful with children in particular, because small children often have a very high urge to move and are certainly not aware of the consequences of a fall.
If a spleen swelling is known, then it should be ensured in any case that the child spares itself for at least 8 weeks after the end of the illness. Before letting him/her do sports again, it is advisable to see the doctor again and to find out whether the swelling of the spleen has receded. Often it is not even necessary to explicitly point out to the children that they should be spared during the illness, as they often feel very bad and stay in bed by themselves and are too weak and sickly to get up. Usually the symptoms go as follows: great tiredness, severe fatigue, severe sore throat, abdominal discomfort such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea, coughing, loss of appetite, swollen tonsils and swollen lymph nodes. Unfortunately, the symptoms in babies or very small children are often not very specific, which is why a disease called Pfeiffer’s glandular fever is often diagnosed very late.
Why shouldn’t you do sports?
The most important reason for a ban on sport in the case of Pfeiffer’s glandular fever is the risk of a rupture of the spleen, as the spleen is clearly swollen in some sufferers. Another reason is general weakness and fever, as the body needs all its energy to fight the virus. Furthermore, during the acute phase of the disease, those affected often have difficulty breathing because their tonsils are swollen and inflamed. The symptoms, especially the swelling of the spleen, do not all go down at the same time, which is why there is still a ban on sport even after a subjective improvement.
How long must no sport be practiced?
As with most infectious diseases, the body needs some time to regenerate after an infection. In the case of the Ebstein-Barr virus, which triggers the Pfeiffer’s glandular fever, this pause is particularly important. A rough guideline is a sports and stress break of about four weeks after the last symptoms have subsided.
Even during the illness there is an absolute break from sport and heavy lifting should be avoided. The time until complete healing and thus the release from sport depends particularly on the size of the spleen in the case of Pfeiffer’s glandular fever. If the spleen is significantly enlarged, the sports break is longer, whereas if it is not enlarged, sports can be started earlier.
The size of the spleen can be determined by the family doctor with an ultrasound. If the spleen is enlarged, there is a risk of a rupture of the spleen under stress, which can be life-threatening. Long courses can mean sport breaks of several months.