ZocdocAnswersWhat are the symptoms of mono?

Question

What are the symptoms of mono?

How can you tell if you have mono? My ex-girlfriend had a bad case of mono, and now I'm pretty feverish and weak. But it has been a month since we were together! So I don't really think it should be that. But just to be sure, should I see a doctor?

Answer

Infectious mononucleosis, commonly referred to as mono, is an infection caused by the very common Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). EBV is transmitted by bodily secretions, primarily saliva, which is why mono is often called "the kissing disease." The vast majority of people in developed countries are exposed to the virus at a young age and often experience very subtle, if any, clinical symptoms. Sometimes, when someone slightly older is exposed to the virus for the first time, he/she may develop signs of an acute infection; this classically occurs in teenagers and young adults. Typically, symptoms do not show up until 1-2 months after transmission of the virus. The most common symptom is prolonged and significant fatigue. Other common symptoms include sore throat, low-grade fevers, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches and nausea. The combination of your girlfriend having mono, the symptoms you are experiencing, and the time-course of symptoms all suggest mono as a possible cause. You should see your primary care physician, who can perform a physical exam and blood tests to help confirm the diagnosis. Importantly, if mono is diagnosed, you should refrain from significant physical activity for several weeks, as there is a increased risk of damage to the spleen late in the course of mono.

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

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.