Infectious mononucleosis has a couple of nicknames, including mono and the kissing disease, but people may be more familiar with the name glandular fever.
It’s a virus transmitted through saliva, which means you can get it through kissing, but you can also be exposed through a cough or a sneeze, or by sharing a glass or food utensils with someone who has the illness.
While mono is contagious, it’s not as contagious as some infections, like the common cold.
Complications of the virus include an enlarged spleen. So what are the symptoms to look out for?
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are eight symptoms to look out for:
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck and armpits
- Swollen tonsils
- Skin rash
- Soft, swollen spleen
The incubation period of the virus (the time between when you contract the infection and when you start to have symptoms) lasts between four and six weeks.
Signs and symptoms then typically last for one to two weeks.
What are the complications?
In rare cases, some people can develop complications. Healhline says these include an enlarged spleen and inflammation of the liver.
If you have an enlarged spleen, it says: “You could wait at least one month before doing any vigorous activities, lifting heavy objects, or playing contact sports to avoid rupturing your spleen, which may be swollen from the infection.
“Talk to your doctor about when you can return to your normal activities.
“A ruptured spleen in people who have mono is rare, but it is a life-threatening emergency. Call your doctor immediately if you have mono and experience a sharp, sudden pain in the upper left part of your abdomen.”
If you have inflammation of the liver, it advises: “Hepatitis (liver inflammation) or jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) may occasionally occur in people who have mono.”
How should you treat mono?
Your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid medication to reduce throat and tonsil swelling.
But recommended home treatments include:
- Getting a lot of rest
- Staying hydrated, ideally by drinking water
- Eating warm chicken soup
When should you visit your doctor?
If you experience the symptoms there is a possibility you could have mononucleosis.
If rest and a healthy diet don’t ease off symptoms within a week or two you could see your GP.