What Are the Symptoms of Mono?
What are the symptoms?
The typical symptoms consist of sore throat, swollen glands, and fever. Other symptoms may include headache, decreased appetite, muscle aches, and fatigue.
Symptoms vary from person to person. Some people have almost no symptoms. Others may develop enlargement of the spleen, inflammation of the liver, and/or rash. Other organ systems are occasionally involved.
How is it diagnosed?
Mono can be diagnosed by a blood test.
Please be aware that the screening test for mono may not give an accurate result if the test is done within the first week of illness. This is because the screening test detects antibodies in your blood. Early in the course of the illness, you may not have developed a high enough level of antibodies for the screening test to detect.
For this reason, please do not be surprised if your health care provider does not do the mono test right away.
My roommate was diagnosed with mono. Should I get tested?
We do not recommend testing unless you are actually symptomatic.
A classic study performed among college students revealed that roommates of patients with mononucleosis wereno more likely to develop mononucleosis than other students on campus.
Did you know that approximately 90-95% of adults test positive for antibodies to the Epstein Barr virus? Chances are that you may already have Epstein Barr antibodies and not even know it!!! If so, you are immune and can't get mono.
How do you get mono?
Mono is acquired though intimate contact, particularly though the passage of saliva.
Contrary to popular opinion, mono is really not that contagious. People with mono do not need to be quarantined.
Most individuals who are diagnosed with mono cannot remember how they got it. One study showed that only 6% of patients diagnosed with mono were able to remember how they got it.
The virus can persist in the pharynx for up to 18 months after clinical recovery. Thus, individuals with no symptoms can transmit it to others without even knowing it.
How is mono treated?
Mono is treated by taking good care of yourself and allowing your body a chance to recover. This means proper sleep, rest, and good nutrition. Staying up late at night to party, pulling "all-nighters" to finish a paper, and drinking alcohol will definitely not help speed your recovery. Strict bed rest is not necessary. You may take acetaminophen (tylenol) if you have body aches, sore throat, or fever.
Because mono is caused by a virus, antibiotics do not work.
You will also want to avoid vigorous exercise, heavy lifting, and contact sports in order to avoid the potential complication of a ruptured spleen. This is a very rare complication of mono, and it tends to occur within the first 21 days of illness. Your health care provider can help you determine when it is safe to resume such physical activities.
Some individuals with mononucleosis will also have a group A streptococcus infection of the throat. If this is the case, antibiotics will be helpful for the streptococcus infection. They will have no effect, however, on the mono.
Your health care provider may prescribe steroids in certain rare situations. However, steroids are not indicated for treatment of uncomplicated cases of mono.
How long does it last?
The duration of illness varies from individual to individual.
Most people recover from acute symptoms within the first two weeks.
The majority of individuals recover uneventfully. Most people are not confined to their beds and are able to go about their usual activities.