Infectious Mononucleosis (“Mono”)

“Mono” stands for mononucleosis. It is an infection caused by a virus. Mono can affect the throat, lymph glands, liver and spleen. Mono is diagnosed by a blood test. Sometimes the infection has to be present for several days before the blood test shows that the virus is there.

Mono can cause …

  • pain in the abdomen on the right side.
  • a fever
  • sore throat
  • swollen glands
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • sometimes a rash, or sometimes yellowing of the skin (jaundice)

How is Mono Spread?

The virus is spread through sneezing, coughing and kissing.

How is Mono Treated?

  • Mono does NOT get better with antibiotics.
  • It is safe to control fever with acetaminophen (Tylenol┬«). DO NOT USE ASPIRIN┬« OR ASPIRIN-CONTAINING PRODUCTS (salicylic acid). This could lead to Reyes Syndrome which causes brain and liver damage.
  • Get plenty of rest and sleep. Rest until your fever is gone.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of fluid a day, especially if you have a fever.
  • Try to eat a well-balanced diet, even though you don’t feel like eating.
  • Gargling may help your sore throat. Use warm salt water (1 teaspoon salt in 1 cup of water), or use double-strength tea.
  • Try starting normal activities after your fever is gone. Rest when you are tired.

How Long Does it Take to Get Better?

Most people get better in 2 to 4 weeks. You may feel tired for 3 to 6 weeks after the other symptoms are gone.

Visit the OUCC or the Emergency Department if …

  • you have trouble swallowing
  • you have trouble breathing
  • you become very lightheaded
  • you have pain in your abdomen or your shoulder
  • there is confusion (confusion means that the person does not make sense when he talks, or the person acts in a very bizarre way)