Infectious Mononucleosis


Infectious Mononucleosis is a viral disease commonly seen between ages 15-25 years. Infectious Mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Bar virus (EBV) which affects the lymph glands in the neck, armpits, abdomen and groin. It can cause enlargement of the liver and spleen. This disease is usually acute, rarely serious; it is often so mild it goes undetected. ‘Mono’ is thought to be transmitted through saliva.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Sore Throat
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen glands
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats
  • Skin rash (may appear in 10% of cases – especially if given penicillin)


Other conditions can resemble ‘mono’ therefore diagnosis can only be made through a blood test which measures positive antibodies being produced by your body in response to the disease.

How is mono treated?

The main goal is to relieve symptoms:

  • Rest. Sleep helps your body fight infection – 8 hours /night
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Prevent dehydration
  • Eat 3 healthy meals/day
  • If you have a sore throat: gargle with warm salt water, use lozenges
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can be taken to relieve pain and fever
  • No sharing of eating utensils or drinking glasses, straws, ‘double-dipping’

Antibiotics are not effective against mono. Antibiotics are effective against bacterial infection not viral. Mono is caused by a virus.

What about Sports and Exercise?

NO sports, physical activities or exercise of any kind until your doctor tells you it is safe. Moving around too much puts you at risk of rupturing your spleen, especially if it is enlarged. You need to avoid physical activity and contact sports for about 4 – 6 weeks after you have had mono due to risk of rupturing your spleen.  If you have a sharp, sudden pain just below your left ribs seek medical attention immediately.