Can I Get it Again?

You hear about it all the time—someone who already had mono has it again—but does this really happen? It seems like you may have heard that once someone contracts mononucleosis, they can't get it again. So, who's right? Can mono recur?

Most of the time, people who come down with the disease known as infectious mononucleosis, also known as "mono," only get it the one time. In rare cases, however, people have been known to have a recurrence of mononucleosis months or perhaps even years later.

Mononucleosis is almost always caused by infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Once someone is infected with EBV, the germ stays in their body forever.

In other words, you're a carrier of the virus. The virus tends to stay in a dormant or inactive state for the rest of your life. From time to time, however, the virus can go into its active state.

When this happens, the virus can be seen in a person's saliva. Even though the virus can be seen, its presence is not really felt, since you're not liable to feel ill during this time.

A Blue Moon

Once in a blue moon, a reactivated EBV may cause illness in those people who have weakened immune systems, for instance, those with AIDS.

Worthy of note is the fact that mononucleosis may sometimes lead to a serious condition known as chronic active EBV infection, which manifests in persistent illness for longer than six months after your doctor makes the initial diagnosis of mononucleosis.

If you think that you or a loved one may be experiencing recurrent symptoms of mononucleosis, you should consult your doctor so that he can determine the cause of the symptoms.

There are many other conditions whose symptoms can mimic those of mononucleosis. Such conditions include hepatitis and toxoplasmosis, among others.

While mononucleosis can lead to an enlarged spleen, with the possibility of a rupture in that organ, liver ailments such as hepatitis and jaundice, anemia, thrombocytopenia, heart inflammation, nervous system complications (such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, encephalitis, meningitis) and swollen tonsils which may obstruct breathing, other ailments that have copycat symptoms of mono may have other, very different complications and ramifications for your health. A proper diagnosis is the obvious path to the best treatment and fastest recovery possible.

Keep a Journal

If you suspect that all is not right with your health, start keeping a journal of your symptoms and bring it along with you to show your doctor. Your journal may be the key to helping your doctor determine what's ailing you, and that's a step in the right direction.

A True Story of Recurrent Mono

A good friend of mine, Stacey, had mono over the summer. She struggled with it a good deal and was so relived when it was finally over.

Then, around December, she started feeling awful again. She was exhausted all the time, feeling light headed and was barely able to function. What, she wondered, could possibly be going on?

Sure she was the mother of four young children and she had a full-time job, but this was an exhaustion she had never felt before.

Then Stacey got the bad news. It was mono. Aghast and completely confused, she asked the doctor how this was possible. Can you really get mono twice?


Stacey found that the mono was much milder during the second round. Fortunately, it only took her three weeks to feel better, but it was frustrating to have to go through it all again.

She felt fortunate that it was a short lived illness, but she is nervous that the virus might have just become dormant again and that it will reappear. Only time can tell - and she will make sure to take care of herself as best as she can in the interim.

Just as regular mono requires plenty of sleep, liquids and a healthy diet, recurring mono requires the same treatment. There are many alternative treatments that people will recommend for mono including herbs, acupuncture, aromatherapy, hypnosis, etc.

The same treatments that you would use for first time mono are the ones that will be used for recurrent mono.

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