Infectious Mononucleosis (Mono) - Treatments

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What is the usual course and treatment of mono?

In most cases of mono, no specific treatment is necessary. The illness is usually self-limited and passes much the way other common viral illnesses resolve. Treatment is directed toward the relief of symptoms. Available antiviral drugs have no significant effect on the overall outcome of mono and may actually prolong the course of the illness. Occasionally, Strep throat occurs in conjunction with mono and is best treated with penicillin or erythromycin (E-Mycin, Eryc, Ery-Tab, PCE, Pediazole, Ilosone). Ampicillin (Omnipen, Polycillin, Principen) and amoxicillin (Amoxil, DisperMox, Trimox) should be avoided if there is a possibility of mono since up to 90% of patients with mono develop a rash when taking these medications. They may then be inappropriately thought to have an allergy to penicillin.

For the most part, supportive or comfort measures are all that is necessary. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be given for fever and any headache or body aches. A sufficient amount of sleep and rest is important. The throat soreness is worst during the first five to seven days of illness and then subsides over the next seven to 10 days. The swollen, tender lymph nodes generally subside by the third week.

A feeling of fatigue or tiredness may persist for months following the acute phase of the illness. It is recommended that patients with mono avoid participation in any contact sports for three to four weeks after the onset of symptoms to prevent trauma to the enlarged spleen. The enlarged spleen is susceptible to rupture, which can be life threatening. Cortisone medication is occasionally given for the treatment of severely swollen tonsils or throat tissues which threaten to obstruct breathing.

Patients can continue to have virus particles present in their saliva for as long as 18 months after the initial infection. When symptoms persist for more than six months, the condition is frequently called "chronic" EBV infection. However, laboratory tests generally cannot confirm continued active EBV infection in people with "chronic" EBV infection.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: natural medicine, Female (Caregiver) Published: July 24

My friend's daughter was so sick with mononucleosis told she was not well enough to write her exams in June. She had already been bedridden for almost 8 weeks and back and forth to the doctor with many medicines. Her daughter took 2 pouches of Immunocal starting on Thursday and by Monday morning she was able to go to school and write her exams... no more pain, or swollen spleen. Immunocal provides the natural building blocks for the body to produce glutathione which is necessary in every cell - without it we die.

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Comment from: Macy, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: March 02

I have been awfully sick for about 6 days now. A day after I felt sick I went to emergency room because I thought I had strep. I went and they said I had strep, gave me steroids, antibiotic and a pain killer. As I kept taking those nothing got better. In fact they started to get worse, so today I went back and after needle after needle to CAT scans and sitting on the hospital bed with machines in me they finally tested me for mononucleosis and I was positive. So now they took me off everything but steroids because mono is a virus and antibiotics don't help. I'm hoping this won't get too much worse because I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. My tonsils and glands are swollen to where I can barely breathe, and I just now can start to swallow. I haven't slept very much and I'm so tired. I never thought mono was real until today and yeah well, story of my life.

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