Never one to let illness get her down, Aine O'Connell tells us about her experience of glandular fever and what she learned about the virus a lot of students have to contend with at some stage.
Among the phrases students don’t want to hear “your blood test indicates that you have glandular fever” is one of the most common. The so-called kissing disease is hugely prevalent in 10-25 year olds. We are, in fact, the group most likely to get it. Taking into account the student lifestyle of not enough food and a lot of kissing, it’s something more than a few of us have been struck down with. As a 'Glandular Fever Survivor', I’ve googled the disease extensively in the last few weeks, and here’s what I’ve discovered…

1. Got the glange? Kiss goodbye to any makeout sessions. Glandular fever is spread through saliva, hence the name “the kissing disease”. While a patient is infectious for several weeks before and after the fever passes, they are at their most contagious with a fever. So, loving boyfriends and girlfriends out there: maybe leave your significant other in isolation for a while.

2. Many of us get glandular fever and experience virtually no symptoms. The lucky ones with killer immune systems simply fight off the virus that causes glandular fever, rendering them immune to illness for the rest of their life. For the rest of us, EB virus means aches and pains, a sore throat, swollen glands and a general feeling of utter shiteness. The good news is, the painful element of glandular fever passes in 5-10 days. The bad news…

3. You WILL be tired. While I’ve heard nothing but horror stories about the disease since I got it (kidney failure, liver failure, jaundice, hospitalisation, you name it), I mercifully have experienced little more than exhaustion. But my god, it’s exhaustion with a capital E. Showers, meals and even Netflix can prove too much for the glange-infected. So prepare yourself for a lot of naps. Even more bad news? This tiredness can last for up to two years after initial infection.

4. More bad news: alcohol. Fond of a drink? Forget it for quite a while after glandular fever. Because of the virus’ effect on the body, alcohol can cause  a full-on relapse, or worse, liver damage. Doctors online recommend a six-week period between contraction of the virus and going back on the hard stuff, so even if you do feel better, it’s time to embrace the soft drinks.

5. Unfortunately, there is little the medical profession can do for glandular fever. Because it’s a virus, antibiotics are useless against it, and no vaccine has come to the fore. Treatment of glandular fever involves a lot of sleeping (I spent two weeks on my sofa) and a lot of painkillers. Solpadeine is your best friend with glandular fever. Just be careful not to get addicted…

My glandular fever experience is, mercifully, almost over – unlike some unfortunate friends of mine, I am suffering only a few weird and debilitating side effects. So the next time someone’s tries to tell you that their cousin’s best friend’s teenaged daughter almost died from glandular fever, tell them about me, someone who has suffered no more ill-effects than two weeks off college and a Netflix dependency.