What Are the Symptoms of Mononucleosis?


Mononucleosis, which is also referred to as "mono" or the "kissing disease, is a common condition among teenagers and young adults. The illness is caused by infection with the Epstein-Barr virus, and there is no vaccination or cure for the disease. However, further infections can be prevented through good hygiene and staying home when ill. Consider this information derived from the Mayo Clinic, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the National Library of Medicine about the symptoms of mononucleosis.


People with mononucleosis may have persistent fatigue that lasts for several weeks to several months. The fatigue may be severe and can make going about normal activities and performing self care such as showering and getting dressed difficult. Children with mononucleosis may have fatigue that is less severe than the fatigue experienced by adults.


Fever is an early symptom of mononucleosis that may persist for several weeks. People with mononucleosis also may have fevers that are accompanied by nighttime sweats, which may interfere with sleeping. Children may develop fever earlier during the course of infection than adults.


People with mononucleosis may experience headaches during the course of the infection. They also may develop a sore throat, which can last for several weeks and does not get better after using treatments such as lozenges, sprays or antibiotics. Body aches may develop, especially in the neck and armpits near where lymph nodes are located.

Respiratory Problems

Shortness of breath may develop in people with mononucleosis, especially those who try to exercise or do too much physical activity while sick with the infection. People with mononucleosis may develop a cough that lasts for several weeks, and they can spread the infection to others through mucus and saliva that is coughed out. Chest pains when taking a deep breath and nosebleeds are other respiratory problems that may occur as a result of mononucleosis infections.

Skin Changes

People with mononucleosis may notice rashes on their skin, which may last for several weeks. The skin also may become clammy or flushed in people with mononucleosis. People with mononucleosis may develop jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin, and this symptom is more common in middle-aged to older adults than it is in children and young adults.

Swollen Glands

Mononucleosis may cause the tonsils to swell, which can interfere with breathing, swallowing and talking. Mononucleosis causes the spleen to become swollen and inflamed, which can lead to tenderness of the abdomen that lasts for several months. People with mononucleosis also may notice hard, firm swellings in their neck, armpits or groin where the lymph nodes are, and this swelling can last for several months.

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