Mononucleosis

Diagnosis

Physical assessment

Based on the signs and symptoms you present, their duration, and a physical examination, your doctor may suspect mononucleosis. They will look for indications such as swollen lymph nodes, tonsils, liver, or spleen, and evaluate how these signs correlate with the symptoms you describe.

Blood tests

  • Antibody tests: If further confirmation is necessary, a monospot test may be conducted to examine your blood for antibodies specific to the Epstein-Barr virus. This rapid screening test provides results within a day. However, it may not identify the infection during the initial week of the illness. An alternative antibody test, although requiring a longer result time, can detect the disease even within the first week of symptoms.
  • White blood cell count: Additional blood tests may be employed by your doctor to assess for an increased number of white blood cells (lymphocytes). While these blood tests do not conclusively confirm mononucleosis, they may indicate it as a potential diagnosis.

Treatment

No specific therapy exists for treating infectious mononucleosis, as antibiotics are ineffective against viral infections like mono. The main strategy for managing the condition involves self-care, including getting enough rest, maintaining a nutritious diet, and staying hydrated. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to alleviate symptoms such as fever or a sore throat.

Medications

  • Treating secondary infections and complications: The sore throat associated with mononucleosis may be accompanied by a streptococcal (strep) infection. You could also potentially experience a sinus infection or infection of your tonsils, known as tonsillitis. You could also potentially experience a sinus infection or inflammation of your tonsils, known as tonsillitis. Antibiotic treatment may be necessary for these additional bacterial infections. In cases of severe airway narrowing, corticosteroids may be employed.
  • Risk of rash with certain medications: Individuals with mononucleosis are advised against using antibiotics like amoxicillin and those derived from penicillin due to the potential development of a rash. While the appearance of a rash doesn’t necessarily indicate an allergy to the antibiotic, alternative antibiotics with a lower likelihood of causing a rash are available to address infections associated with mononucleosis.