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Infectious Mononucleosis: The Basics

Infectious mononucleosis, also known as mono or glandular fever, is a common viral infection. It is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and spreads through contact with saliva, mucus, or blood. The condition primarily affects teenagers and young adults, but it can also affect children and older adults. In this blog post, we will discuss the basics of infectious mononucleosis.


Infectious mononucleosis, also known as mono, is a viral infection that can cause a range of symptoms in affected individuals. The symptoms can vary greatly from person to person and may range from mild to severe, depending on the individual’s immune system and overall health.

‘The most common symptoms of mono include fatigue, fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, headache, and muscle aches.’

These symptoms may be accompanied by a loss of appetite, irritability, and difficulty sleeping.

In some cases, individuals with mono may also experience a rash, abdominal pain, or an enlarged spleen. The rash may be accompanied by itching or a burning sensation, while the abdominal pain may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. The enlarged spleen may cause discomfort or pain in the upper left side of the abdomen.

It is important to note that the symptoms of mono may not appear immediately after infection and can take several weeks to develop. In some cases, individuals with mono may not experience any symptoms at all, making it difficult to diagnose the infection.

If you suspect that you may have mono, it is important to seek medical attention to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Your doctor or PA can perform a physical exam, review your medical history, and order diagnostic tests to confirm the presence of the virus and rule out other potential causes of your symptoms.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Infectious mononucleosis is a viral infection that is commonly diagnosed through a blood test which can detect the presence of antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus. While there is no specific treatment for mono, it is important to note that there are a number of things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms and speed up the recovery process.

For example, individuals with mono should get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated, and take over-the-counter pain relievers for any pain or fever they may experience. Additionally, some natural remedies like herbal teas and throat lozenges may help to soothe a sore throat and reduce inflammation.

It is also important to be aware that individuals with mono should avoid contact sports and heavy lifting for at least a month after the symptoms have resolved. This is because the virus can cause an enlarged spleen, which can rupture if subjected to trauma. Therefore, it is recommended that those with mono take it easy and avoid any activities that could put them at risk of injury until they are fully recovered and have been given the all-clear by their doctor.


Infectious mononucleosis can be prevented by taking certain measures, even though there is no vaccine available for it. Here are some methods that can help prevent its spread:

  • Avoid close contact with individuals who have mono by maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet.
  • Refrain from sharing drinks, utensils, or personal items with others as this can easily spread the virus.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of the virus through droplets.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially when you have been in contact with someone who has mono or have touched surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. This will help kill the virus and prevent it from spreading further.
  • Boosting your immune system through a healthy diet and exercise also helps in preventing the onset of infectious mononucleosis.


Infectious mononucleosis is a common viral infection that primarily affects teenagers and young adults. While there is no specific treatment, certain measures can help alleviate symptoms. It is important to take steps to prevent the spread of the virus, especially among individuals who are more susceptible to severe symptoms. If you suspect you have mono, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and management.

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