Some types of viruses make people sick for a few days, but other kinds can be debilitating, and the symptoms can last for months. The Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis, is a very common illness that most people get at some point in their lives. And, occasionally, some people experience symptoms of the virus for close to a year or more. Anyone who has been diagnosed with mononucleosis and is still experiencing symptoms a couple of months later should know more about the Epstein-Barr virus and what it takes to get disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.
What is Epstein-Barr?
Epstein-Barr is the virus that causes mononucleosis, which is a very common illness that most people have in their bodies by the time that their in their 30s. Although most people who get the virus either don’t have symptoms or experience symptoms for less than a month before they begin to feel better, some people can experience the affects of the virus for much longer. In fact, once someone catches the virus, it’s always in their system. While it lies dormant in most people’s bodies, it’s possible for some people to have complications for months after the initial infection.
The Epstein-Barr virus spreads through bodily fluids, most often saliva. Mononucleosis is the most common illness that the Epstein-Barr virus causes, but there are some other illnesses that this virus can cause. Some other ways that this virus can spread include sexual contact, blood transfusions, and organ transplants. If it’s spread through saliva, one of the most common ways that it spreads is through kissing, but sharing a toothbrush or a drinking from the same glass as someone who has the Epstein-Barr virus that’s currently active will also cause someone to get the virus.
It’s possible to transmit this virus for weeks after contracting it even if the person isn’t yet experiencing symptoms. In fact, most people who eventually experience symptoms actually experience a dormant period of a couple of weeks before the symptoms present themselves.
People are most likely to get the Epstein-Barr virus when they’re school-age children and when they’re in their adolescence to early adulthood. Young children often don’t get the symptoms of mononucleosis, but it’s much more common for adolescents and young adults to experience the symptoms.
Symptoms of Epstein-Barr
When a person has a flare up of mononucleosis from the Epstein Barr virus, there are several symptoms that will likely be present. One of the most notable symptoms is extreme fatigue, which will usually last throughout the flare up of mononucleosis. One of the tell-tale signs of mononucleosis, the illness that the Epstein Barr virus causes, is fatigue, but it’s more extreme than the type of fatigue that a person would get with a regular cold, often causing people to sleep for most of the hours in a day.
Another symptom of mononucleosis is a sore throat that doesn’t get better when treated with antibiotics. The reason that some people are given antibiotics is because the sore throat of mononucleosis is often mistaken for strep throat.
Many people with mononucleosis often experience some sort of fever that can last for at least a couple of weeks. A skin rash, swollen tonsils, headache, and swollen lymph nodes also accompany the fever. The swollen lymph nodes are usually in the armpits, groin, and neck.
Finally, one of the least easy to recognize symptoms is a soft, swollen spleen. Some people might not notice that their spleen is swollen, but other people might experience pain behind their ribs and a feeling of fullness even when they haven’t eaten anything.
Treatments for Epstein-Barr
Since the Epstein Barr virus is a viral infection, it isn’t responsive to antibiotics, so there isn’t a specific course of treatment. Instead, taking care of oneself is the best way to lessen the symptoms and get a person back on track to health.
Some of the most common ways that people should take care of themselves when they have mononucleosis is to drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest. Water is often one of the best ways for a person to flush their system out when they have a virus. Drinking water will also help alleviate symptoms like headaches, congestion, and sore throat. Eating well in general will also have positive effects on the severity of the symptoms.
Over-the-counter pain relievers can also be used to reduce fevers and ease the pain of a sore throat and body aches. Some of the pain relievers that people can try include acetaminophen, naproxen sodium, and aspirin. Finally, gargling with salt water can also relieve some of the pain of a sore throat.
Although strep throat isn’t one of the primary symptoms of mononucleosis, because the immune system is already weakened, some people will occasionally develop strep throat and require antibiotics even though antibiotics won’t help kill the Epstein-Barr virus. Antibiotics will, however, kill bacteria that was able to get into the person’s system because their immune system was weakened.
Disability Benefits for Epstein-Barr
Since the mononucleosis symptoms that the Epstein-Barr virus causes will usually pass in well under a year, it can be difficult to gain disability benefits from the Social Security Administration for this particular virus. There are, however, a couple of things that will help people gain the disability benefits that they’re seeking for Epstein-Barr, including elevated levels of capsid antigen from the Epstein-Barr virus.
Usually, in order to receive SSA disability benefits for almost any condition, the person applying must meet the requirements for at least 12 months or have reason to anticipate that they’ll have symptoms or complications for at least 12 months. Since the symptoms usually pass more quickly than a year, the person applying must make a case for why it’s going to take longer than a year for them to recover from their symptoms.
Some of the factors that the SSA will look at when trying to determine whether or not a person will meet the duration requirements is the patient’s response to treatments, any complications, diagnostic tests, and the doctor’s prognosis.
The symptoms and complications of the Epstein-Barr virus must also severely restrict the the applicant’s ability to do work. Applicants must also meet certain criteria for income and have had previous employment with companies that pay taxes into the SSA. One of the income restrictions is that a person is making less than the substantial gainful activity level for the current year.
The SSA will also look at whether the applicant has a medically determinable impairment. For instance, since extreme fatigue is one of the primary symptoms of mononucleosis, when evaluating whether or not someone’s symptoms are severe enough to receive benefits, the SSA will use the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome to compare the applicant’s symptoms with.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Epstein-Barr, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.