Infectious mononucleosis, more commonly known as mono, occurs more frequently than people like to think. In fact, in the United States, it’s estimated that many people have actually suffered from mono mistakenly attributed to other conditions at some point in their lives.
How can you tell if it’s mono or something else?
So, just what signs should you look for to see if you have mono? The first sign is usually that you’re exhausted all the time…
One of the most common symptoms of mono is excessive tiredness, or fatigue.
When does fatigue set in?
After the initial cold-like symptoms begin, increasing fatigue can develop over the course of two weeks.
How long does the fatigue last?
Usually two to four weeks, although sometimes it can last for six months or more.
Are you not just tired, but in pain?
If so, where are you feeling the pain? Depending on where you’re hurting, it could be another sign that you have mono…
9. Sore Throat
If the sore throat doesn’t dissipate in two weeks or causes trouble breathing, make sure to contact your doctor right away. When paired with a high fever and painful joints, a sore throat might be part of a more serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
How long does this sore throat last?
Over the course of a few days, a severely sore throat can develop and last anywhere between six to ten days.
Is your temperature high, too?
If you haven’t taken your temperature yet, it’s time to grab the thermometer. Why? Because it could let you know if you have the following symptom of mono…
Have a fever? It might be mono.
How long does a mono-induced fever last?
Depending on your age, the severity of a mono-induced fever can differ significantly.
- Young children infected with the Epstein-Barr virus may experience an extremely slight fever for less than a week.
- By contrast, older children, teenagers, and young adults may have more severe feverish symptoms lasting longer than a week; there’s a reason why people often use mono interchangeably with glandular fever, which usually only affects young adults.
What about symptoms you can see?
The past few symptoms have all been ones that you largely feel. However, there are some signs of mono that you can spot right away just by looking…
7. Unusual Rash
One of the most obvious signs of mono is the infamous “mono rash.” Though it doesn’t occur quite as often as other symptoms, the tell-tale rash still provides a great way to pinpoint mono specifically.
What does the “mono rash” look and feel like?
The most common type of “mono rash” is a maculopapular rash, and it may have the following characteristics:
- flat, pinkish or reddish spots on the surface of the skin
- raised, red lesions similar to measles rashes
- may or may not itch
- can occur anywhere on the body.
Petechiae is another form of mono rash that may have the following characteristics:
- flat, small, brown-purple dots under the skin (rash is formed by broken capillaries)
- most often occurs inside sensitive mucous membrane of the mouth
Around fifty percent of those infected with mono get this rash.
Is your head pounding, too?
Yes? Keep reading; you could very well have mono…
A headache is one of the first noticeable mono symptoms.
When does this symptom occur?
As other flu-like symptoms diminish, the headache will typically subside soon after as well.
Can this symptom recur?
Yes. Caffeine, bright lights, and elevated stress levels may cause headaches to recur during the course of the infection.
What if everywhere aches?
If more than just your head aches, it could be another sign of mono…
5. Body Aches
Once you’re infected with mono, the body will rapidly start to develop antibodies that fight the infection. When this happens, antibodies may initiate a painful inflammation in response to said infection.
When do these aches first happen and how long do they last?
For young adults and older sufferers, body aches are one of the first symptoms to develop. These aches will rapidly worsen within the first week and peak along with the fever, but will then start to subside completely after one to two weeks.
Where will you feel this pain?
Most patients report initial soreness around their knees, shoulders, and back that soon progresses over the entire body.
Have this symptom or most of the previously mentioned ones?
Yes? Then it’s time to look for more symptoms. Touch the sides of your throat, just under your jaw. How are your lymph nodes doing? The answer to that question could be another hint of whether or not you have mono…
4. Swollen Glands
Doctors often give a preliminary diagnosis of mono after checking the size of the lymph nodes and tonsils. Even after cold and flu-like symptoms dissipate, enlarged lymph nodes may remain for several weeks until mono totally subsides.
Where are the lymph nodes most likely to be infected located?
Mono primarily causes the lymph nodes under the jaw, neck, and above the collarbone to swell since these nodes are most associated with upper respiratory infection.
It’s not just the lymph nodes that may swell.
Mono can cause other parts of the body to enlarge as well…
3. Enlarged Spleen
Located in the upper left section of the abdomen, the spleen acts as a filter for blood. There, old red blood cells are recycled while other immunological cells (like white blood cells) are stored. Moreover, the spleen has some limited immune behavior that aids against bacterial infection.
What does having an enlarged spleen feel like?
Watch out for the signs associated with an enlarged spleen, such as:
- pain in the left shoulder after taking a deep breath
- excessive hiccuping (an inflamed spleen is located in such a way that it can irritate the diaphragm)
- pressure or pain in the upper left side of your abdomen
- feel full after only eating small amounts of food
This last symptom is especially important to keep an eye on.
Are you having problems eating?
If you feel full after eating a small amount and notice that your appetite has decreased, it is more likely that you have mono…
2. Loss of Appetite
Similarly to colds and flus, mono causes appetite changes in the vast majority of patients. In fact, shifts in appetite may be one of the first noticeable symptoms of this condition.
Beware severe caloric reduction.
Many patients report that they go from a regular 2000-calorie diet to just a few hundred calories in a day when mono hits. If this caloric reduction persists for longer than a week, it may present a serious danger to some patients, making it vital to seek out professional help right away.
In fact, this symptom alone may pave the way for the next worrying symptom to develop…
Although anemia is a less common side effect of mono, it’s not unusual for patients to report the condition after several weeks of experiencing other symptoms.
What does anemia feel like?
Anemia means there is a decrease of red blood cells, which can worsen the symptoms of weakness, fatigue, and irritability.
What foods are high in iron?
It’s therefore recommended that those with mono eat foods high in iron to combat the effects of anemia. Some of these foods include:
- leafy greens