Duration of symptoms
It is not possible to make a general statement about this. Each person is very individual with regard to the duration of the disease, as is the case with other diseases. In general, however, it can be said that, compared to other diseases, the Pfeiffer’s glandular fever lasts for a long time.
However, the duration of the phase in which one really feels ill does not usually last longer than two weeks. During this time, the noticeable fever, tonsillitis and painful swelling of the lymph nodes occur. However, mononucleosis is mainly known for the fact that the disease as a whole can last several weeks, as the tiredness or exhaustion of the affected person can last for several weeks. It occurs both before the “actual phase of the disease” and afterwards. The swelling of the spleen and the increased liver values are also limited to the period of the febrile phase of the disease and usually return to normal again afterwards.
Why can reactivation of the symptoms occur?
The Epstein-Barr virus belongs to the group of herpes viruses. Similar to herpes viruses, which cause “herpes” on the lip or nose, Epstein-Barr viruses can also survive in the body of those affected. The viruses nest in the body’s own cells and thus manage to hide from the human immune system in a figurative sense.
The pathogen is therefore not completely eliminated. If the immune system is now weakened by other stress factors, the viruses begin to multiply again in the body. In doing so, they spread throughout the body and thus cause reactivation.
I can tell when a relapse has occurred by these symptoms
A relapse or reactivation of the whistling glandular fever is usually not easily or clearly recognizable. The symptoms are very different. Reactivation can only be clearly shown by the detection of certain virus particles in the blood.
From unspecific abdominal pain to functional disorders of the heart or kidney, numerous manifestations are possible. However, reactivation is usually accompanied by permanent exhaustion. These symptoms, which may indicate reactivation, are explained below: This topic may also be of interest to you: Late effects of mononucleosis
- Headache, backache, muscle pain and fever
- Abdominal pain
- Night sweat
Fever, headache and muscle pain are the three symptoms that most people develop during an infection.
In all cases, the messenger substances produced by the pathogens are responsible for activating the immune system of the person affected. If the number of active viruses rises again during reactivation, the immune system ensures an increased sensitivity to pain as part of the defence reaction and ensures that the “body target temperature” is raised in the brain. This leads to an increase in fever.
In addition to the muscle pain, which often occurs in the back area, it can also occur because components of the viruses are deposited in the muscles. Edema can have its origins either in a heart or kidney disease. Oedema is the retention of water in body tissue.
They are rather a symptom of a cardiological or nephrological problem. If damage to the heart or kidneys occurs in the context of Pfeiffer’s glandular fever, which occurs only in rare cases, edema can be an expression of this organ damage. In rare cases, the Epstein-Barr virus attacks the spleen or the liver again when reactivated.
If this is the case, it can be the reason for the occurrence of abdominal pain. With the help of an ultrasound examination, the doctor treating the patient can then get an idea of the condition of these organs or of any damage they may have suffered. As already mentioned several times, reactivation can, however, present itself in very different ways.
Thus, it cannot be excluded that the viral pathogens may also be responsible for the development of pancreatitis or intestinal inflammation. Night sweat can be caused by two things. On the one hand, the “set temperature” increased by pathogen components is reduced again at night.
In order to then cool down, the body begins to sweat. A second – but very far-reaching – explanation is based on the fact that Epstein-Barr viruses are suspected to play a decisive role in the development of certain types of cancer. In this context, night sweats are an indication that the development of tumours is usually already advanced.
Night sweat is a typical symptom of tumor diseases and is called the “B-symptom” together with fever and unintentional weight loss. What exactly the connection is between the development of depression and the reactivation of mononucleosis has not yet been clarified. The most likely trigger for depression seems to be the prolonged fatigue that sets in again with reactivation.
It cannot be ruled out that a physical symptom is falsely attributed to a psychological cause. This means that the exhaustion is regarded by doctors as a manifestation of depression. Here we go: Signs of depression