Feb 17 2009
Your body has a comprehensive defense system designed to protect you from invading organisms, foreign objects and allergens. Today we will cover what happens when your body becomes infected with Epstein Barr virus.
A sore throat
When the throat tissue is invaded by the Epstein Barr virus, an inflammatory response kicks in straight away.
The affected part of the throat sends out biochemical distress signals that attract phagocytes. – white blood cells that destroy the Epstein Barr virus.
The reason your throat becomes inflamed is that the blood vessels widen and become more permeable. This allows more white blood cells, immune substances and warmth to flood the tissue. The inflamed throat is typically characterized by redness, swelling and pain.
The pain and inflammation in your throat, is your body’s signal to rest your voice, slow down and let your body recover. If you cover the symptoms with pain killers and then use your voice normally, you may end up feeling sicker or prolonging the duration of your illness.
Coughing and sneezing
Histamine may also be produced to make more mucous in your throat and sinuses to trap the infection, and enhance the flooding of immune cells to the area. Histamine also creates more swelling. Nerves in your throat sense this swelling and may force you to cough, expelling mucous out of your body.
The same happens in the nose, causing you to sneeze. Your throat may become even sorer from the inflammation and coughing. If you start to mouth breath because of a blocked nose, you can worsen the irritation as your throat dries out. Viruses thrive in cool, dry air so it is important to keep the air in your throat warm and moist.
Coughing and sneezing is the body’s way of cleansing the bronchials, lungs and throat of mucous and dead viruses and bacteria. Taking cough medicines to suppress a cough can prolong the illness and lead to more serious conditions like pneumonia or bronchitis.
Your lymph nodes
Another symptom many people associate with mononucleosis is swollen lymph nodes or glands. These normally come up in the neck but can also be apparent in the armpits or groin.
The lymph nodes or glands are small masses of specialized tissue that drain the lymph of antigens and help in the production of antibodies. When the lymph nodes are swollen, it indicates that your body is working overtime to fight the attack on your body.
If you have a fever, it is there for a reason – it plays a critical role in fighting invading viruses and bacteria. Fever raises your body temperature to the point where viruses and bacteria cannot flourish.
Fever will make you feel tired and lethargic, giving your body a chance to rest and divert its energy into fighting the infection.
In most cases a fever should not be lowered unless it gets too high (above 104°F or 40°C). To suppress it can make the infection linger longer. One study showed that people who took aspirin and Tylenol suppressed their body’s ability to produce antibodies to destroy the infective organism.
Aspirin should never be used to control fever or pain in mononucleosis sufferers because of the rare association of aspirin with Reye’s syndrome, a potentially fatal disorder characterized by inflammation of the brain and liver failure. This syndrome is more likely to occur in children and teenagers.
Treatment of Epstein Barr
It is advisable not to suppress your Epstein Barr symptoms with painkillers, cough medicines or other medications like corticosteroids. The best approach to treating Epstein Barr is to support your immune system naturally with a healthy diet, nutritional supplementation, graded exercise, restoration of normal sleep patterns and stress reduction. These natural approaches are discussed in the e-book “Nature’s Amazing Mononucleosis Cures” by naturopath Elizabeth Noble.
8 responses so far