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Mononucleosis (mono)

is an infection caused by a virus. Mono is spread through saliva.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Extreme tiredness or weakness
  • Fever
  • Headache and muscle aches
  • Sore throat or swollen tonsils
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes on the sides and back of your neck
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of appetite

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have shortness of breath.
  • You are confused or have a seizure.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have severe pain in your abdomen or shoulder.
  • You have trouble swallowing because of the pain.
  • You urinate very little or not at all.
  • Your arms or legs are weak.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your symptoms get worse, even after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Steroids help decrease inflammation.
  • Antibiotics may be needed if you also have a bacterial infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • Rest as needed. Slowly start to do more each day as you feel better.
  • Drink liquids as directed. Liquids will help prevent dehydration. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Do not play sports or exercise for 3 to 4 weeks or as directed. When you return for your follow-up visit, your healthcare provider will tell you if you are able to return to full activity.

Prevent the spread of mono:

Do not share food or drinks. Do not kiss anyone. The virus may be in your saliva for several months after you feel better. Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a child's diapers, or sneeze. Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food.


Follow up with your healthcare provider in 3 to 4 weeks:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.