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Common Illnesses in Young Adults

Living in close quarters with a lot of other people puts you at a greater risk of contracting certain illnesses.  Here are some of the most common infections in young adults and communicable diseases to watch out for:

Mononucleosis—better known as “Mono” or “The Kissing Disease”
Mono is common between the ages of 10-19.  Mono is often spread by saliva and close contact.  Symptoms of mono include:

  • Fever
  • Sore Throat
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Your health care provider may order a CBC or mono spot test (blood test) if they suspect that you have mono.  If the blood test comes back positive for mono, your health care provider may suggest that you refrain from contact sports or aggressive physical activity for 4-6 weeks due to enlargement of the liver and spleen that is caused by the infection; these organs could rupture if injured during physical activity.  There aren’t any specific treatments for mono, but you can treat the symptoms of mono.  Plenty of rest and fluids are also recommend.

Cold Sores
Cold sores are painful blisters on the mouth, lips, or nose.  They are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus and can be spread through kissing or close contact.  Symptoms include:

  • Tingling or burning sensation in the affected area
  • Painful fluid filled blisters.

Once you’ve had a cold sore, you’re likely to get them again.  Cold sores will go away on their own if left untreated but over the counter medicated creams and prescription medications can help speed up the healing process.

Strep Throat
Strep throat is caused by bacteria causing an especially painful sore throat.  Strep throat is most common between the ages of 5 and 18.  Symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Sore throat
  • Tonsils enlarged/red
  • Yellow or white patches at the back of the throat
  • Fever

If you think you may have strep throat make an appointment with your health care provider.  A rapid strep test may be performed in the office, which can be read within 10 minutes.  A throat culture sent to the laboratory may be used to test for strep.  Strep throat is treated with antibiotics.  If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infections such as rheumatic fever or kidney disease.

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a 3 ½ inch long tube of tissue that extends from the large intestine.  It’s caused by blockage of appendix by stool, a foreign body, or cancer.

It is most common between the ages of 10 and 30. Appendicitis is considered a medical emergency that requires prompt surgery to remove the appendix. (appendectomy)  If left untreated, the inflamed appendix will eventually burst, spilling infectious materials into the abdominal cavity.  When the appendix ruptures, it can be fatal unless treated quickly with strong antibiotics.  Classic symptoms of appendicitis are:

  • Dull pain near the navel or upper abdomen that becomes sharp as it moves to the lower abdomen
  • Nausea and or vomiting after the abdominal pain begins
  • Abdominal Swelling
  • Fever of 99-102 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Severe cramps
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Appendicitis can be diagnosed by different tests such as:
  • Abdominal exam
  • Blood work to check for signs of infection and inflammation
  • CT scan or ultrasound

Contact the Gable Health Center or your health care provider if you suspect you have any of these illnesses.  For more information about these topics please visit the websites listed below.



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