My Teenager Has Mono (Glandular Fever) – Should I Worry?

Glandular fever is a type of viral infection that mostly affects young adults.

It is also known as infectious mononucleosis, or “mono”.

Sick teen girl with cup of teaCommon symptoms include:

While the symptoms of glandular fever can be very unpleasant, most of them should pass within two to three weeks. Fatigue, however, can occasionally last several months.

Read more about the symptoms of glandular fever.

When to seek medical advice

You should contact your GP (*Doctor or Pediatrician) if you suspect that you or your child has glandular fever.

While there is little your GP can do in terms of treatment, they can provide advice and support to help you control your symptoms and reduce the risk of passing the infection on to others.

You should go to your local accident and emergency (A&E) department (*Emergency Room – ER) or dial 999 (*911) for an ambulance if you have glandular fever and you:

  • develop a rasping breath (stridor) or have any breathing difficulties
  • find swallowing fluids difficult
  • develop intense abdominal pain

These symptoms can be a sign of a complication of glandular fever that may need to be treated in hospital.

What causes glandular fever?

Glandular fever is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). This virus is found in the saliva of infected people and can be spread through:

  • kissing – glandular fever is often referred to as the “kissing disease”
  • exposure to coughs and sneezes
  • sharing eating and drinking utensils, such as cups, glasses and unwashed cutlery

EBV may be found in the saliva of someone who has had glandular fever for several months after their symptoms pass, and some people may continue to have the virus in their saliva on and off for years.

If you have EBV, it’s a good idea to take steps to avoid infecting others while you are ill, such as not kissing other people, but there’s no need no need to avoid all contact with others as the chances of passing on the infection are generally low.

Read more about the causes of glandular fever.

Who is affected?

Glandular fever can affect people of all ages, but most cases affect teenagers and young adults.

Most EBV infections are thought to occur during childhood and cause only mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all.

However, if a person develops an EBV infection during early adulthood, they can develop glandular fever.

Once you have had glandular fever, it is unlikely you will develop it again. This is because people develop lifelong immunity after the initial infection.

How glandular fever is diagnosed

To diagnose glandular fever, your GP will first ask about your symptoms before carrying out a physical examination. They will look for characteristic signs of glandular fever, such as swollen glands, tonsils, liver and spleen.

Your GP may also recommend a blood test to help confirm the diagnosis and rule out infections that can cause similar symptoms, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), rubella, mumps and toxoplasmosis.

How glandular fever is treated

There is no cure for glandular fever, but there are a number of simple treatments and measures that can help reduce the symptoms while you wait for your body to control the infection.

These include:

  • drinking plenty of fluids
  • taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol (*acetaminophen) or ibuprofen
  • getting plenty of rest and gradually increasing your activity as your energy levels improve

Occasionally, antibiotics or corticosteroids may be used if you develop complications of glandular fever.

Some people with particularly severe symptoms may need to be looked after in hospital for a few days.

Read more about treating glandular fever.

Possible complications

Complications associated with glandular fever are uncommon, but when they do occur they can be serious. They can include:

  • further infections of other areas of the body, including the brain, liver and lungs
  • severe anaemia (a lack of oxygen-carrying red blood cells)
  • breathing difficulties as a result of the tonsils becoming significantly swollen
  • a ruptured (burst) spleen, which may need to be treated with surgery

Read more about the complications of glandular fever.

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US readers.

NHS Choices logo


Child Health & Safety News 12/18: Snapchat Still #1 for US Teens

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: By next month, 600,000 US children will lose their health insurance. This is where they live.

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 15 events & stories.

  • Saving kids lives through streamlined emergency care 2017-12-17
  • Snapchat is still the network of choice for U.S. teens — and Instagram is Facebook’s best shot at catching up 2017-12-17
  • Research suggests there is an association between the amount of sleep children with diabetes get and how well their mind and body functions, including tight blood glucose management 2017-12-17
  • Flu virus spreading in NY, prompting public-health alert 2017-12-15
  • New research has found children who eat dinner with their families were fitter, healthier mentally, and less inclined to eat fast food or drink soda 2017-12-15

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
Snapchat is still the network of choice for U.S. teens — and Instagram is Facebook’s best shot at catching up

  • Embrace life by buckling up – Wonderful PSA – watch with volume turned on! 2017-12-14
  • Gary on the Street: Holiday Driving Advice from Teens 2017-12-14
  • Teens Talk: What Works to Stop Cyberbullying – Cyberbullying Research Center 2017-12-14
  • 11 Signs That Your Child May Need a Therapist 2017-12-14
  • More Time Teens Spend On Phone, More Likely They’ll Attempt Suicide, Multi-Year Study Finds 2017-12-13
  • My Son Has Gynaecomastia (Man Boobs) – What Can He Do? 2017-12-13
  • Baby born with heart outside her body survives surgery 2017-12-13
  • Best & Worst States For Maternal & Child Health In 2017 2017-12-12
  • Childhood obesity rates rise in children aged 7-11 in UK 2017-12-11
  • The 5 Types of Rules Kids Need to Become Responsible Adults 2017-12-11
  • Sensory Friendly Screening of Wonder, Tomorrow Night at AMC 2017-12-11
  • Help with Holiday Hurdles for Special Needs Kids 2017-12-11

Why You Should NOT Get Your Child a Puppy for the Holidays

As a professional dog trainer, I deal with the potential physical dangers of kids and dogs interacting; which can range anywhere from a child being knocked down frequently by an untrained over-active pup to serious problems where the dog is not being child-friendly. But there is another potential danger: an emotional aspect of my job that oftentimes goes unforeseen by well-meaning adults until after-the-fact. One that seems to happen most often during the holiday season… and that is the ‘impulse’ purchase or adoption of a live animal.

On the one hand… who can blame you? Who can resist the sweet innocent fuzzy face of a puppy? The adoption ads online strategically place the cutest fuzziest puppies first. The puppy stores place the most adorable ones by the window. Maybe you grew up with a dog, and all those fond memories come flooding back to you. Or, maybe you always wanted one as a kid, but your parents would not allow it… and all of a sudden, you feel you just HAVE to get one for your child at home, so they don’t grow up ‘deprived’ like you did!

The problem with these kinds of decisions is that they were made by the heart… even the most rational-thought-minded person can find themselves falling prey to this. But after the first few weeks, the ‘novelty’ wears offs…. And suddenly, that cute little fuzz-ball is wreaking havoc on your once quiet and smoothly run home! I had one client call me in total frustration, saying, “I sent three kids to IVY league schools, and I can’t get this puppy to pee outside!” Or the other phone call, “I got a puppy this Christmas, and I am trying to get it housebroken, but the kids keep letting him out of the crate, he is chewing up everything I own, my kids are running away from it in fear…… this is SO not what I bargained for!”

I recently read an article that a friend of mine, Chad Mackin had written on this. He is a professional dog trainer as well as a fellow member of the IACP (International Association of Canine Professionals) and someone that I have a great deal of respect for, and have learned a lot from over the years. I found his article so appropriate, I asked (and was granted) his permission to share it with you. So here is a link to that article……

Everything Chad talks about I agree with 100%. There are, however, a few things in particular in his article that I want to highlight….

1. Never buy or adopt a live animal as a surprise or a gift.

There is so much involved in puppy and dog ownership besides the initial purchase or adoption of the animal. There is the housebreaking process (which demands quite a bit of time, patience, consistency, and a bit of know how.) As a professional trainer, I always have the items needed on hand, but to get someone a puppy, wrap a bow around it’s neck and deliver it as a gift, and then expect the receiver to now buy the crate, exercise pen, food, dishes, leash, collar, training treats, stain and odor remover, paper towels, etc. is a lot. Then there is the total loss of all their free time. Long gone are the days when they could grab their coat and just go out. Now it is all about getting the pup on a routine. (Remember the comment I wrote about the client that complained she sent three kids to IVY league schools and can’t get the dog to pee where she wants it to?) And let us not forget the vet bills (boosters at 3 months, full set of vaccinations at four months, neutering or spaying at 6 mths to a year) and added expenses of boarding the dog while they go away, hiring a trainer, etc. For all of these reasons, surprising someone with a dog or a pup as a gift is never a good idea.

2. Plan for a dog…. not just the puppy.

The second thing I wanted to highlight that Chad mentioned was that he (and I) are not trying to talk you out of getting a puppy. It is a wonderful experience… but make sure you are ready for not just the puppy, but the dog. What we mean by this is to do your research prior to getting the dog. I can’t tell you how many dogs end up in a shelter a couple of months after the holidays because the family ‘just didn’t realize he would get that big’ or ‘didn’t realize it would shed so much’ or ‘didn’t realize so much was involved in the training!’ Dogs are not born knowing how to act and behave in a human’s world. They must be taught, and everything you do with a pup is molding it for who it will grow up to become. Where do you begin the research?

Look at your family and their typical dynamics. Are they:

  • Outgoing or shy?
  • Active or sedate?
  • Loud and boisterous or quiet and reserved?
  • Fearless or more hesitant?
  • Outdoorsy (likes camping, hiking, fishing, etc) or prefer to sit and read?

Also, what does your typical day look like?

  • Are you at home most of the day or out most of the day (e.g. working in an office, etc.)?
  • Do you like vacationing locally, and can include the dog or do you prefer to travel to locations that would mean leaving the pup at home (which would require boarding)?
  • Do you like things neat and tidy, or are you okay with a bit of mess.

Other factors would include:

  • Finances (Bigger dogs cost more to feed, board, vaccinate, etc.)
  • Are there any allergies?
  • Do you own a house or live in an apartment (A dog that barks may be an issue for neighbors)

Once you have answered the above questions, now you have narrowed things down a bit and can start researching different breeds based on your needs. Some great resource books for learning about different dog breeds and preparing to be a new dog owner are:

3. Make sure the entire family is involved in the final decision of which dog to get.

Why do I say that? I can explain this best by sharing a recent experience one of my sister’s and her family went through. The youngest had been begging for a puppy… specifically a Golden Retriever. My sister did not want a dog that large so they decided on a mix. She also was worried about the housebreaking process, so she decided she wanted one about a year old.

It didn’t take long for the on-line search process to derail. When they found one that was local (that they could visit) they’d find out it had already been adopted. After this happened several times, they got frustrated and went from a planned decision into an impulsive one. They found a dog that was out of state, and adopted it sight unseen. They never got the chance to see how it interacted with all the family members beforehand.

Even though it was made clear right from the start that this was to be a ‘family’ dog, (my sister has two other children other than the youngest) from day one, it was obvious that the primary owners were my sister and the youngest. And the dog followed suit. He growled and shied away from my sister’s husband and the middle child, and ‘tolerated’ the presence of the oldest. He was not adaptive to their lifestyle; where they are very friendly and outgoing, the dog was territorial of his home, and possessive of my sister and my youngest nephew. This led to several bites on friends visiting the house… some of which were the kid’s friends. Eventually my middle nephew got bitten. The dog had to be re-homed. End of story.

But now you’ll see the emotional toll it can take on an entire family; my sister and one child were in tears, my middle nephew was left feeling guilt that it was his fault, my niece had separated herself so much from the dog already that everyone assumed she just ‘did not care’ and my brother-in-law was furious! In their case, it effected the emotional, physical wellbeing, AND safety of not just their kids, but other children as well. Anyone visiting the house unexpectedly was in potential danger.

So, what went wrong? Let’s refer to the lists above:

  • They wanted a dog smaller than a golden, so they had decided on a golden retriever mix, instead of researching what other potential breeds would be good for them.
  • They made the decision that the timing was right for a dog, and they were ready for the commitment, but when they looked locally to find a dog, once they got frustrated, that carefully thought out plan was abandoned, and the dog from out of state that the youngest had found on-line was flown in. Instant connection with the youngest and my sister, but no real connection with the rest of the family was ever established, and in the end, all of them paid for it.

So now they are puppy hunting. And yes, it happens to coincide with the holidays, but that just happens to be luck. This time they’re doing things a little differently:

  • They’ve discussed their lifestyle: Outgoing, outdoorsy, social, and friendly. That rules out breeds that are aloof and weary of strangers (e.g. chow, ridgeback, etc.). So are breeds that are couch potatoes, not good with kids, and not good with other animals.
  • They have taken size into consideration, medical expenses, boarding expenses, etc. and decided which breeds would do well in this home.
  • The entire family is involved in picking out the puppy, and the entire family will make the decision…even if it means waiting a little longer. They’re choosing the right “dog” not just pup.

Need a bit of extra help deciding? My article What age should I get my child a dog and what should we get can give you quite a bit of information on which breed might be right for you and your family and also includes a link to a test that, based on your answers, can narrow down the choices for you a bit.

Just remember, any pup or dog you choose during the right time, the right circumstances, the right involvement by everybody, with the right research, may turn out to be the best pet you have ever had! Choose wisely, based on rational thought and not impulse, and every member of your family can have a wonderful bond with your pet for the rest of their lives. Trust me when I say it is so much better than the tears after-the fact!

My Son Has Gynaecomastia (Man Boobs) – What Can He Do?

Gynaecomastia (*gynecomastia) (sometimes referred to as “man boobs”) is a common condition that causes boys’ and men’s breasts to swell and become larger than normal. It is most common in teenage boys and older men.

What are the signs of gynaecomastia?

  • Signs vary from a small amount of extra tissue around the nipples to more prominent breasts. It can affect one or both breasts.
  • Sometimes, the breast tissue can be tender or painful, but this isn’t always the case.

What causes gynaecomastia?

Gynaecomastia can have several causes.

Hormone imbalance

Gynaecomastia can be caused by an imbalance between the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen. Oestrogen causes breast tissue to grow. While all men produce some oestrogen, they usually have much higher levels of testosterone, which stops the oestrogen from causing breast tissue to grow.

If the balance of hormones in the body changes, this can cause a man’s breasts to grow. Sometimes, the cause of this imbalance is unknown.


Some growth in breast tissue is not due to extra body fat from being overweight, so losing weight or doing more exercise may not improve the condition. However, a common reason for gynaecomastia is that being very overweight (obese) can increase levels of oestrogen, which can cause breast tissue to grow.

Newborn baby boys

Gynaecomastia can affect newborn baby boys, because oestrogen passes through the placenta from the mother to the baby. This is temporary and will disappear a few weeks after the baby is born.


During puberty, boys’ hormone levels vary. If the level of testosterone drops, oestrogen can cause breast tissue to grow. Many teenage boys have some degree of breast enlargement. Gynaecomastia at puberty usually clears up as boys get older and their hormone levels become more stable.

Older age

As men get older, they produce less testosterone. Older men also tend to have more body fat, and this can cause more oestrogen to be produced. These changes in hormone levels can lead to excess breast tissue growth.

Other causes

In rare cases, gynaecomastia can be caused by:

  • side effects of medication – such as anti-ulcer drugs or medication for heart disease
  • illegal drugs – such as cannabis or anabolic steroids
  • drinking too much alcohol
  • a health abnormality – such as kidney failure or liver disease
  • Klinefelter’s syndrome (a rare genetic disorder)
  • lumps or infection in the testicles

Treatment for gynaecomastia

If you’re worried about breast tissue growth, see your GP (*doctor).

If your GP thinks treatment is needed, there are two types of treatment for gynaecomastia:

  • surgery to remove the excess breast tissue
  • medication to adjust a hormone imbalance

Your GP can discuss the treatment options with you. Read more about male breast reduction surgery.

Procedures such as breast reduction surgery are not usually available on the NHS, unless there is a clear medical need for them. For example, if you have had gynaecomastia for a long time, it has not responded to other treatments and it is causing you a lot of distress or pain, your GP may refer you to a plastic surgeon to discuss the possibility of surgery.

Always see your GP if the area is very painful or there is an obvious lump. Sometimes, the lump may need to be removed. Gynaecomastia is not related to breast cancer, but if you’re worried about breast swelling, see a GP.

Read the answers to more questions about men’s health.

Further information:

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US readers.

NHS Choices logo


Child Health & Safety News 12/11: New Facebook Kids Messenger

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: Schools Are Introducing ‘Share Tables’ To Feed Hungry Students And Help Reduce Food Waste

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 15events & stories.

  • We need to talk about guns before my child stays in your home It’s a terribly awkward conversation…we don’t have a problem with you owning guns…we have a problem with our superfast kid… 2017-12-10
  • St. Clair Shores boy fights brain tumor with new proton therapy new therapy precisely targets cancer cells avoiding healthier organs and tissues 2017-12-10
  • Screen Time Right Before Bed Linked to Less Sleep and Higher BMI: Ditch the Phone and Try These Foods to Sleep Better 2017-12-10
  • Thousands of N.C. kindergartener students exempt from vaccines on religious grounds More than double in 5 years… 2017-12-10

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
Facebook Kids Messenger – How to use the new child-friendly texting service.
Parents setup the account, child’s name is not searchable and parents must add contacts for their kids

  • My 12 Year Old Was Blackmailed for Nude Photos – For every parent who says “it can’t happen to my kid” PLEASE READ THIS! 2017-12-09
  • 3 Things Parents Can Do To Help Kids Calm Under Pressure 2017-12-08
  • For The 1 In 5 North Texas Kids In Poverty, It’s Harder To Get To The Doctor, Succeed In School 2017-12-04
  • Why Sniffles Hit Hardest At Night – Thurs Time Capsule 2017-12-07
  • Video: What Exactly is Cerebral Palsy? How Do I Know… 2017-12-06
  • Brain remaps itself in child with double hand transplant 2017-12-06
  • Safety concerns raised over the ‘most beautiful girl in the world – 6 year old model with 500k Instagram followers’ 2017-12-06
  • When it comes to threats of violence or suicide, most are known by at least one other individual BEFORE the incident occurs. Bring Say Something to Students in Your Community 2017-12-05
  • A new Child and Adolescent Asthma Guideline has been developed in NZ 2017-12-04
  • Do-It-Yourself Braces: Just Say No and Save Your Child’s Smile 2017-12-04

Help with Holiday Hurdles for Special Needs Kids

Holiday Traditions

Special needs parents and caregivers come up against the spectre of expectations on a daily basis, but the holidays can bring up even more challenges. You may have your ideal holiday all planned out in your mind, or be burdened with visions of holidays past, but your child with special needs may be unable or unwilling to go along with the images in your head. This is certainly true to for typical kids and teens, too!

Religious services

While you may get comfort from attending some form of worship, to a person with special needs a church, temple or other holy place may seem scary. There are strange smells, loud sounds and crowds. This can all be too over stimulating for certain people.

Some places of worship are starting to offer services geared to those with special needs, or may offer an alternative activity while the parents attend services. If these options are not available in your area, ask for them to be initiated – or help to start them yourself. Headphones, earplugs and even surgical masks may help with excessive sensory input. Weighted vests or special fidgets or stuffed animals may offer a sense of being grounded or calmness.

Social expectations

Let’s say you open a present from Great Aunt Ethel. It is a sweater, and you don’t really like it, but you know that you should still say thank you. Some people with special needs lack that politeness filter and may blurt out their honest feelings, such as “that is an ugly sweater.” Not only is Great Aunt Ethel offended but the parents of the child with special needs may also come under fire for not teaching the child “good manners.” Too bad no one taught Great Aunt Ethel good taste, then this awkward situation would have been avoided.

Maybe waiting to open gifts in private could help spare Great Aunt Ethel’s feelings, and of course a polite thank you note afterwards would be appreciated.

Holiday Gatherings and Visits – even to the North Pole

Visiting friends and family can be challenging due to strange environments, new people and changes in routine.

Bring familiar items and if necessary, favorite foods you know your child will eat. Social stories where you can rehearse acceptable responses are helpful, and de-sensitization practices may help make new places less problematic when you visit them beforehand while they are empty.

Your holiday tradition may include a visit to Santa. As a former Macy’s Herald Square Elf I can tell you that as nice a person as Santa is, to a small child this giant man in a vibrant red suit can seem terrifying! Screams, crying and squirming are common responses even from neurotypical children. If your child with special needs truly can’t handle an encounter with Mr. Kringle please don’t force them – you are trying to make a happy memory for kids, not torture them.

Check local malls or a We Rock The Spectrum location for Sensitive Santa, which is a crowd-free visit with subdued lighting and low or no music. Many special needs families have gotten their very first happy holiday photo thanks to these events. Waving to Santa from across the mall or a photo with Santa far in the background may also be a fun alternative to standing in a long line to meet him face to face.

It isn’t just visiting the jolly elf that may bring up tough situations – Great Aunt Ethel may bring her own set of problems. At her house the rules may be different, which is difficult and possibly even upsetting for individuals with special needs. Even if she comes to your house she may upset the usual environment; she may wear a strong perfume or change the usual mealtimes. While you may want that photo of your child and Great Aunt Ethel snuggling by the fire, your child may want nothing to do with her.

Give your child some space. A group photo may be more tolerable for your child. After some time your child may become comfortable with new people and new settings. Let them ease in at their own speed.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Editor’s Note: Autism Speaks is a co-sponsor of Sensory-Friendly Santa. Click here to find one in your area.