When it comes to determining whether or not you have mono, there are a few tests that your doctor can do. The main test for mononucleosis is known as the monospot test but also goes by mononucleosis spot test, mononuclear heterophile test, and the heterophile antibody test. This test looks for the antibodies that are produced by your body when you have mono.

Monospot Testing

The monospot test is a fairly simple procedure that requires your doctor to take a small sample of your blood. This blood is then placed on a slide and combined with a specific solution. If you have monos, then your blood will start to clump when it is exposed to the solution. This test can effectively identify infectious mononucleosis two to nine weeks after you are infected.

Other Tests

Along with the monospot test, your doctor may also order a complete blood count test and possibly check your liver enzymes. A complete blood count (CBC) will tell your doctor whether your white blood cell count is up (signifying an infection) and if your reactive lymphocyte levels are normal. This test also involved taking a blood sample, which is then sent to a lab for analysis.

Mononucleosis sufferers with sore throats may also have a strep test done to determine if this is just another mono symptom or if you actually have strep throat. If you do have strep throat, you will be prescribed antibiotics. This treatment will only help your strep throat, though, not your mono symptoms since mono is a viral infection that cannot be helped through antibiotics.

Test Results

If you suspect that your baby or child has mono, it is unlikely that his pediatrician will do a mono test. Because infants and children younger than four generally do not produce heterophile antibodies (the antibodies that fight the epstein barr virus, or EBV), a mono test will always produce a negative result, even if the child is infected. Additionally, symptoms of mono do not manifest as often or severely in children this young.

In teens and adults, a diagnosis of mono is made when, in addition to your mononucleosis symptoms, your monospot test shows your blood clumping and your blood work comes back with elevated white blood cells and reactive lymphoctes. However, it is possible to receive a false negative if you test too soon, since your body needs a bit of time to start producing antibodies. You may need to re-test in a week or so if your doctor suspects that your test results are incorrect.

On the other hand, if you receive a negative monospot test and your blood work indicates that you have few or no reactive lymphocytes, then it’s likely that your symptoms are the result of some other infection. Determining just what this infection is can be extremely important if you are pregnant as some infections (not EBV though) can cause complications in your pregnancy or with the baby.

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