Getting Mono As An Adult

I've Got Mono? But I'm an Adult!

One of the problems of getting mono when you are an adult is that it's probably one of the last things that the doctor will think of testing for! Some people may be surprised to learn that they have mono. 

Mono is usually associated with teenagers and college students, but if you didn't catch it then and have teenagers in the house you may catch it from them, even if they are asymptomatic! Also if you have been under a lot of stress recently, a previous attack of mono can be reactivated.

So if you are over 40 and have an unexplained fever lasting more than a week, you should ask your doctor if you may have mono. This is especially true if you also have enlarged lymph glands, as another name for mono is glandular fever.

If you're an adult and you've got mono, chances are that it's even more severe than it would be if you were younger.

Adult symptoms

Adult symptoms of mono include an overwhelming feeling of fatigue. It can take as long as months for your energy to come back completely.

An adult with mono will experience the same symptoms that a child or teenager will experience, including fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes and tonsils, headaches, lack of energy and loss of appetite.

They may also experience jaundice, stiffness of the neck, a rapid heart rate, and shortness of breath. The major symptoms will usually last for two to four weeks, but a full recovery for an adult may take months.

Adult mono symptoms are more severe than they are for children and teenagers. This may be true for a number of reasons; you are older and don't necessarily bounce back from illness as well; you have more responsibility and aren't able to give yourself the time you need to recover; your body isn't as able to fight off infection and viruses; and more.

Spleen problems

The major problem with mono is that it can cause problems with the spleen. The spleen can swell to two or three times its normal size.

This happens in about fifty percent of people with mono. Doctors recommend mono patients avoid heavy lifting and contact sports for three to four weeks after becoming ill with mono. It is important to protect the spleen from rupturing.

Not Just Flu

In many cases mono can seem like another bad case of the flu that just drags on too long. If you have even mildly swollen armpits, a sore throat or tonsillitis and feel tired all the time with something you just can't shake off, it's worth getting a mono test.

Asking your doctor for antibiotics if you have mono is pointless as the Epstein Barr Virus is a virus, and viruses don't respond to antibiotics.

In fact if you have mono and are given an antibiotic because your doctor thinks you have a case of strep throat, you may develop a red rash which is another sign for your doctor that you may have an attack of mono.

Blood Test

A simple blood test will show whether you have mono and if you do your doctor will tell you what symptoms you should watch out for in case of complications.

One of the more serious symptoms to watch out for is hepatitis, or jaundice, as people with mono often have elevated liver enzymes.

So if the whites of your eyes start to go yellow you need to go back to the doctor. Otherwise there isn't really any treatment apart from bed rest and making sure you keep well hydrated.

Looking After Yourself

You may want to take pain relievers for the symptoms, but avoid aspirin.  Get lots of rest and if you feel up to it you might enjoy a little light reading, listening to the radio or watching T.V. Make sure you get plenty of sleep, as it's the best way to heal.

Chicken soup and vitamin C

Chicken soup is a good remedy whenever someone is feeling run down as it is full of protein and other nutrients and is easy to digest. If you combine that with vitamin C and other immune boosters it should help you feel better faster.

In most cases of mono you can be back on your feet again in under a month, and if you look after yourself properly you can be up and about again within a couple of weeks.

While there aren't any specific treatments that all doctors prescribe for mono, it is certainly helpful to get a diagnosis should you think that you are infected.

Go to the doctor

Diagnosis by a doctor can help to rule out other diseases and problems. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should consult a doctor immediately: difficulty breathing or swallowing, abdominal pain which could indicate a ruptured spleen, bleeding from the gums, seizures, severe headaches, chest pains, an inability to drink fluids or a severe weakness in the arms or legs.

Your doctor will do a number of blood tests to determine whether or not you have mono, and will treat you accordingly. If you do have mono, you can expect a good deal of bed rest and fluids.

There is no specific treatment for mono, but rather this virus requires time to help you to get back on your feet. There are many alternative treatments that some people recommend, and these can be explored if they interest you.

The most important thing, if you are diagnosed with mono, is to slow down and give your body the time that it needs to heal. When people get mono as adults, they often try to continue with their routine.

People need to understand that this virus can be quite debilitating and that they need to give themselves quite a bit of time to recover and to get back to their old selves.


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