ZocdocAnswersI've been exposed to mono, is there something I can do?

Question

I've been exposed to mono, is there something I can do?

I accidentally shared a water bottle with my friend who had a sore throat. She thought she just had a sore throat, and I didn't think much of it, since I've dealt with sore throats before and knew I would be fine. (I've never had mono before, at least to my knowledge.) However it got so bad that the doctor told her that she had a severe case of mono and needed antibiotics. Since there seems to be a probable chance that I will have mono (it still seems to be in its incubation period, it's been three weeks), am I able to talk to my doctor and start taking antibiotics or other foods that might affect mono early, in an attempt to shorten the effects of mono for myself? Or will the antibiotics not work?

Answer

For specific recommendations for you, the best thing to do is to speak with your doctor. However, unfortunately, mononucleosis, the doctor's name for the virus that your friend has contracted, is not susceptible to the common antibiotics that we routinely use. If your friend was given antibiotics, it is either to help prevent or treat a secondary bacterial infection (which can happen due to the increased inflammation that can come in the areas affected by the mono, such as the tonsils), or to help treat her for some other reason that may be apparent only to the treating physician. For most people, treating those exposed to mono would not be considered as the standard of care (although there may be some exceptions for those with abnormal immune systems, for example). There are 2 big reasons: first, antibiotics don't work on viruses, and second, almost all of us are exposed to mono at some point. If you have managed to avoid it thus far, it is possible that your symptoms would not be as severe as those of your friend. Even more likely, you would probably be spared because you are already protected due to previous exposure. Eating healthy is always a good idea, though. Again, for your specific recommendations, please speak with your doctor or healthcare professional.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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