Infectious Mononucleosis (Mono) - Symptoms

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For infectious mononucleosis (mono), what were the symptoms and signs you experienced?

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What are the symptoms of mono?

The initial symptoms of mono are

  • a general lack of energy or malaise,
  • fatigue,
  • a loss of appetite,
  • chills.

These initial symptoms can last from one to three days before the more intense symptoms of the illness begin. The more common intense symptoms include

  • a severe sore throat,
  • fever, which may be persistent,
  • swollen lymph nodes (glands) in the neck area.

It is typically the severe sore throat that prompts people to contact their doctor.

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Comment from: Becky, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 13

I contracted mononucleosis two years ago. I was in the hospital for 11 days. I had very high levels of bilirubin but the weird thing was I had severe pain. It started in my head, went to the middle of my back then to my lower back and hips and weirdly enough ended in my right elbow. I was on a cocktail of painkillers that did not touch the pain. I have lasting damage in my hands and arms and experience severe leg cramping and hand seizures now. No doctors around here seem to know or care what it was or what can be done. It's disappointing to say the least. Two years! My energy is not what it was and my hands and arms are very weak.

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Comment from: Jackie, 19-24 Female (Caregiver) Published: October 01

My daughter has been sick on and off for at least 6 weeks, maybe more. She went to an ENT who noticed no symptoms and sent her away with an allergy regime consisting of Claritin and nasal spray. The very next day her tonsils swelled up and she went to the urgent care where she was quickly dismissed with tonsillitis. She's away at college so I hadn't noticed how bad off she was until she came home for a weekend and she was so weak she barely moved from her bed for the 3 days she was here. She went back and continued to get worse. Exhausted, fatigued, and sensitive to sun, heat, and light. She broke a fever frequently crossing the parking lot to her classes. I finally looked for an internal medicine doctor who proceeded to run a large blood panel that returned negative until I insisted on a strep, mononucleosis, and Epstein-Barr virus test. Finally, bingo she has mono. She at times has been so sick I wanted to call an ambulance. The headaches have been excruciating for her luckily keeping to evenings so she hasn't had to bear that all day. More concerning has been the strange pains through the neck, head and pain that has traveled through her shoulders and hands. She was given an antiviral and 5 days of steroids which seem to have boosted her energy just enough to get through the day. I hope she doesn't have a 6 month or 1 year recovery like some doctors report.

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