Mononucleosis – Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment


Mononucleosis is very contagious and it spreads through saliva, kissing, and sharing drinks with someone. If you develop symptoms that linger for two weeks or more, it is advised to see your doctor.

There is not a great medicine that can ease the symptoms of mononucleosis, you should get as much rest as you can. Staying hydrated, maintaining a healthy diet are considered as the best medicine for treating this condition.

It is not an easy task for a person to recognize the symptoms of this disease and there are a variety of risk factors associated with this condition.

What are the indicators of mononucleosis or kissing disease?

Some people will only have mild symptoms and while others may have severe symptoms. People need to know the symptoms of mononucleosis.

Exhaustiveness, sore throat, high temperature of the body, pain in the head, swollen tonsils, skin rash, swollen spleen, and swollen lymph nodes in your neck and armpits are considered as the symptoms of mononucleosis.

4 to 6 weeks are referred to as the incubation period for this virus. This period is shorter in children. You may get relief from high temperature and sore throat within two weeks. The following are the symptoms that may last longer. These symptoms include

  • Fatigue
  • Swollen spleen
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
enlarged lymph nodes
enlarged lymph nodes

When to consult your physician

Consult your doctor or a physician immediately if you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above. Your doctor should evaluate you for other possible causes of your symptoms before treating Mononucleosis. Together, you and your doctor can determine the best way to manage your symptoms.

What are the causes of mononucleosis?

An Epstein-Barr virus is considered as the most common cause of kissing disease. Most people resolve this condition on their own without long-term effects. People who are high immune may less likely to develop this condition.

kissing the other person

The other causes include kissing the person who has this condition and eating his foods. The symptoms appear after four to eight weeks after you have infected with this condition. It will be difficult to recognize mononucleosis in children and it often goes unrecognized.

What are the risk factors of kissing disease?

Several well-established risk factors are developing the condition. Students, medical interns, nurses, caregivers, and young people who are between the ages of fifteen and thirty have an increased risk of getting diagnosed with this condition.

What are the complications of mononucleosis?

The main complication associated with this condition is an enlargement of the spleen. It can enlarge your spleen and cause a lot of pain on the left side of your upper abdomen. It is really important for the person who is experiencing this pain due to mononucleosis should have a word with their physician otherwise things will become to how they were.

enlarged spleen
enlarged spleen

Hepatitis, and jaundice are the complications of kissing disease. If you have underlying medical conditions such as human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, then it will be difficult for you to manage the symptoms of this condition.

A decrease in red blood cells and a low count of platelets are considered as the less common complications of kissing disease. The other complications include

  • Heart problems
  • Encephalitis and Guillain barre syndrome
  • Swollen tonsils

How is mononucleosis diagnosed?

It is important for the people who are suffering from the symptoms of mononucleosis to get an accurate diagnosis. Your physician may ask you detailed information about the symptoms you have been encountering in the past few days.

After that, he or she may conduct a physical examination of your body. Following are the tests your physician may suggest you confirm the diagnosis of this condition. These tests include

  • Physical exam
  • Antibody tests
  • White blood cell count
  • Complete blood count

Let’s discuss the above diagnostic tests in detail:

Physical Exam

The main objective of conducting a physical examination is to observe the signs and symptoms of mononucleosis. This test also helpful for your physician to determine how long the symptoms lasted. Your physician may look for the following signs while conducting this test. These signs include

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Tonsils
  • Liver or spleen

If your physician detects the above signs during the physical examination, then he or she will confirm the diagnosis of mononucleosis or kissing disease.

Antibody tests

If your physician hasn’t observed the above signs in your previous examination, then he or she may recommend a monospot test and this test will reveal the information about the antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus. These test results will be ready within a day and sent to your physician to confirm the diagnosis of this condition.

White blood cell count

This test is not mandatory for the people who are showing the symptoms of mononucleosis. But this test can reveal valuable information about an abnormal looking white blood cell. Even though, this test is not used to confirm the diagnosis of kissing disease, but it acts as an indicator of this condition.

Complete blood count

As a last attempt to confirm this disease, your physician may recommend a complete blood count. Your healthcare provider will come to know about how severe is this illness by observing the various blood cells in your body.

How is mononucleosis treated?

There is no specific treatment to treat infectious mononucleosis. Your physician cannot recommend an antibiotic since it is a viral infection. The treatment options include

  • Getting enough rest
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Maintaining enough water levels in the body

Your physician may recommend some medications to treat the secondary infections and to prevent the rashes. These medications include


Your physician may recommend this drug to fight the bacterial infection. It is recommendable to treat kissing disease. People who take this drug may develop a rash.


Pain in the abdomen, blood in the urine, pain in the chest, stomach pains, difficulty in breathing or unable to breathe, pain in the lower back, heavier menstrual periods, painful urination, tightness in the chest, and Diarrhea are the possible side effects of this medication.


This drug is used to manage the symptoms of mononucleosis such as pain and high temperature of the body. It is advised to take your physician’s advice before using this medication.

Getting difficulty in sleeping, pain in the head, nausea, vomiting, pain in the upper stomach, loss of appetite, urine in a dark color, yellowing of the eyes are the most common side effects associated with this drug.

The above side effects can occur at any time during drug use and you need to seek medical attention when you are observing the side effects of this condition.

Lifestyle Alterations

A well-balanced diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight can reduce the chances of getting diagnosed with mononucleosis or kissing disease. Other lifestyle changes include

Staying hydrated

Sometimes, all you need is water. Fluids can give you relief from the high temperature and sore throat. Staying hydrated can prevent dehydration.

OTC pain relievers

Take pain relievers to manage some of the symptoms of mononucleosis. Examples of OTC pain relievers include

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, and Motrin IB)

The above medications are used to relieve pain and fever, and this is a very important point to keep in mind.

Do Gargling

Practicing gargling is the best way to get relief from a sore throat. All you need to do is fill a cup with water and add half a teaspoon of salt in it. This method is very simple and easy to follow.

Coping and support

Mononucleosis is not a serious condition but it can keep you at home for several weeks and months if the condition is severe.

Young people who are diagnosed with this condition needs more support than older people. These people may miss a lot of activities due to mononucleosis. The missing activities include

  • Classes
  • Team practices
  • Parties
  • Sports

Don’t feel shy to ask for help and be with the people who are supporting you during your hard times.

How to prevent this condition?

The best way to prevent mononucleosis is to not kissing the people who are diagnosed with this disease and also not sharing the following things. These things include

  • Food
  • Dishes
  • Glasses
  • Utensils

Keep the above points in mind and reduce the chances of getting diagnosed with mononucleosis or kissing disease.


If you are experiencing the symptoms that you think is mononucleosis, then it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment.



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