Infectious mononucleosis, also called “mono” or “the kissing disease,” is a contagious disease spread through saliva or by sharing mugs, foods, or cooking utensils.
It’s not as contagious as the cold, but about 95% of adults in the US have already been exposed to it and have the antibodies to fight it. There’s no vaccine for mono. However, adults can clear the virus without experiencing complications.
Below, we asked our experts at iCare Health Services to explain what you can expect if you’ve been diagnosed with mono.
Symptoms develop about four to five weeks after infection, and they include debilitating fatigue, loss of appetite, high fever, sore throat, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and skin rashes. Less common symptoms include a swollen spleen, swollen liver, or both.
There are no treatments that cure mono, only medications that control the symptoms. Antibiotics don’t work against viruses. Instead, your immune system will have to do all the work.
During your recovery period, make sure you eat a healthy diet, drink a lot of fluids, and get plenty of rest. If you’re experiencing skin rashes, our medical provider can prescribe you topicals to ease your discomfort.
For severe narrowing of the airways and sore throat, our provider may recommend steroid medications.
Depending on your comfort level, you may opt for over-the-counter medications to control the fever. However, your body produces a fever to kill the virus, and dampening the immune system response with medication can prolong your recovery.
On the flip side, if your fever gets too high, it can cause significant health complications. Therefore, it’s best to stay in touch with your medical provider during your recovery to get advice on managing the disease.
In rare cases, mono symptoms can be debilitating, even life-threatening. Seek immediate care if you experience the following: high fever that doesn’t improve, fainting, shortness of breath, or sharp pain in the upper abdomen.
Mono complications are often linked to the narrowing of the airways or the enlargement of the spleen. An enlarged spleen is more likely to rupture. This can cause internal bleeding, which can prove to be fatal if left untreated.
Most people recover from the disease within two to four weeks, but some may have a few lingering symptoms even months after clearing the virus from their bodies. If an enlarged spleen was one of your symptoms, you may have to avoid playing contact sports to prevent a possible spleen rupture.
Mono isn’t a serious disease in most cases, but it can be challenging to recover from. Get peace of mind by calling or messaging us to schedule an appointment and enjoy a smooth recovery.