Epstein-Barr virus, or EBV, is a common herpes virus that affects most humans throughout the world.  This is the virus that causes mononucleosis, also commonly known as mono, or “the kissing disease.”  EBV is spread through infected saliva and bodily fluids.  The most common ways of spreading the Epstein-Barr virus include kissing, sharing drinks or food, using another person’s toothbrush, or contact with toys that an infected child has drooled on. The virus can be present without symptoms for months and EBV reactivation can occur many times with the same virus living dormant in the body. EBV infection can be detected with an antibody blood test.

Symptoms of EBV

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Inflamed throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Swollen liver
  • Rash

Symptoms may or may not become present in childhood, though many people become infected during childhood.  Symptoms typically last 2 to 4 weeks, though fatigue can last months.

Finally, there is no existing vaccine for EBV.  To prevent this virus, don’t kiss people infected with Epstein-Barr, or share drinks, food, or personal items with people infected with EBV.  You may choose to use over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or Motrin for pain and/or fever. Some patients with severe symptoms may be prescribed corticosteroids or antiviral treatments, though not for routine infections. 

Relieve Symptoms with Natural Remedies

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Use herbs/supplements (zinc citrate, St. John’s Wort, lemon balm, licorice, echinacea, vitamin C, L-Lysine, Beta Glucan, olive leaf extract, berberine)
  • Try a detox tea
  • Eat immune-boosting foods, like dark green, leafy veggies, and foods rich in vitamin A, like carrots, sweet potatoes, berries, nuts and seeds, and some proteins
  • Take a daily probiotic or eat probiotic foods
  • Minimize stress 

As always, take care to follow directions on labels very carefully.  Consult your healthcare provider before you add any new herbs or supplements. 

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