What is mono?

Learn more about how mononucleosis (mono) spreads, and how to spot symptoms of this contagious disease.

What is mono?

  • Mononucleosis, commonly called mono, is an illness caused by a virus called Epstein-Barr
  • By the time 95% of adults reach the age of 40 they harbor the virus in their bodies, but only a small percentage actually progress to the illness phase
  • Adolescents are most likely to have the virus cause mononucleosis
  • The virus is spread by bodily contact like kissing, making mono known primarily as an illness for high school and college students
  • A smaller portion of mono cases are caused by a more dangerous virus called cytomegalovirus, which can be life threatening for infants or people with compromised immune systems


What are the symptoms of mono?

The symptoms of mono are similar to those of the flu, including:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat (pharyngitis)
  • Swollen glands—often dramatically, visibly swollen
  • After two or three weeks, the spleen and sometimes the liver become enlarged, too


How to tell if you have mono.

We offer a rapid mono screening test that will give you results in just fifteen minutes, while you wait comfortably. Just walk into any of our clinics when it’s most convenient for you.


What is the treatment for mono?

Once you have your results from the quick mono test, you’ll know whether you need to spend the next several weeks resting while preventing the virus from spreading to family members. We’ll let you know how to stay comfortable and manage your symptoms.

In acute cases, we will prescribe antiviral medication or give you intravenous corticosteroids on site. If your mono is accompanied by a bacterial infection of the throat, we may prescribe antibiotics for that as well.

Once the mono virus has passed it’s unlikely to get it again, although your body will harbor the virus for the rest of your life.


What if your mono remains untreated?

If you think you have mono, it’s important to get a rapid mono test as soon as you can to diagnose your symptoms. Failing to treat mono can lead to severe complications, including:

  • Rupture of the spleen
  • Jaundice
  • Hepatitis
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Meningitis and encephalitis
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