What Teachers Need to Know About Mono

As a teacher, I've often been told by students that they have mono. Do they really have mono? And if they do, what should I, as a teacher, know about the virus? How will it impact on their learning and on my teaching?

These are all serious and important questions to explore as a teacher of a student with mono.

Fake Versus Real Mono

First of all, if a student tells you that he has mono, there is certainly a way to verify if this is true. Students use this term all the time to describe feeling tired and feeling like they can't get enough sleep.

High school and college students often feel this way - and they use the word "mono" to describe their state of exhaustion. If a student really has mono, you should be in touch with the parents, and even the doctor, to find out more about their mono.

When did they get mono? How long should you expect them to be out? Will they be up to doing some of their work at home? These are all important questions to ask and to discuss with the family and the doctor.

Understanding Their State

If a student really does have mono, it's not something to be taken lightly. Doctors usually say that mono takes about three weeks to run its course.

If they are diagnosed late, then they may only be out of school for a week or two. Remember, however, that there is no cure for mono. The recommendations for patients are all about rest.

Mono hits the lymph glands, the spleen and the liver and can damage these areas of the body if the person overdoes activity. While the body builds antibodies, it needs all of the student's energy and this is quite exhausting.

Rest and Slow Transitions

It is very important for the student to stay home and to rest. Even once they can return to school, they may need to do so slowly. They will have to slowly ease back into being in school for a full day and will need to approach their homework and their workload gently.

It is certainly important for you to keep in communication with the parents and doctor if you feel the child is taking advantage of the situation; it is quite normal, however, for the student to be legitimately tired and lethargic for quite awhile.

Danger Signs to Look For

Should the student return to school before he is really ready to do so, there are danger signs that you should know about. You need to call for help, or send the student to the doctor immediately if:

you notice that he or she complains of a sudden, severe stomach pain.

they have trouble breathing or swallowing you should also get help.

if they have a rash or notice that their skin or eyes start to look yellowish you should contact help.

you notice that they have a stiff or painful neck or if they have a fever that goes up above 100F after it has been normal for several days you should get assistance.

Understanding this virus, and knowing how to communicate with the family and the doctor, should make it easier to cope with a student who is afflicted with this difficult virus.

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