In addition to the signs of the disease, blood tests are groundbreaking. In particular, so-called Pfeiffer cells are typical. In case of doubt, a special antibody test can be performed, which may need to be repeated. To assess the liver and spleen, an ultrasound scan can be performed.
What is the therapy for Pfeiffer's glandular fever?
A special drug against the Epstein-Barr virus does not exist. Therefore, only the symptoms can be treated. These include especially the fever and the pain. In about 10% of those affected, in addition to bacterial inflammation of the tonsils, which is treated with antibiotics. The doctor will avoid penicillins because they can lead to skin rashes especially in the mononucleosis.
If complications occur, they must also be treated symptomatically; a splenic rupture requires an emergency operation. At the experimental stage are special drugs like interferon.
What must the sufferer pay attention to?
The most important thing is physical protection, especially in the first weeks of the disease; the full load capacity is often restored only after several months. In case of spleen swelling, even physical work or sport can lead to a splenic rupture. It is important, as with all feverish illness, to drink a lot, even if swallowing is difficult. Particularly helpful are herbal teas, which not only balance the fluid balance, but also inhibit the inflammation (eg sage, chamomile, thyme).
Antipyretic, analgesic remedies such as acetaminophen help against the main symptoms. The sore throat can also be relieved with moist neck wraps (eg with quark or Retterspitz®) and mouth rinses (eg with marshmallow, coltsfoot, ribwort); In the pharmacy finished preparations with nasturtium and horseradish are available.
How to avoid infection?
Since the virus is widespread, it is difficult to protect against infection. The only option is to avoid close body and especially saliva contact with patients. The patient, however, does not need to be isolated. A vaccine is being tested and should be used especially in patients who are at high risk for complications.