Mononucleosis .. advice please

Any advice on Mononucleosis? My 17 yr old son came down with it two months ago. At the height of the fever and aches he was mis-diagnosed with a cold. Later when we went back to Dr. it ws evident “oh… uh … Mono.”

Since that time he comes and goes with it … some days or even weeks he eats well and feels fine. Other days, like he had today, he’s weak and has to force himself to eat.

He’s six foot two and only weighs 150 lbs. I worry about him losing any more weight. He forced himself to eat today and feels dizzy … also has a low grade fever and he reports his tounge feels “raw”.

Is there something else I can do? I encourage him to drink juice (100 percent) which I provide … and eat when he feels good enough to … anyone have any experience with this?

He is starting Jr. College in June … I can’t see him being able to pursue his studies in this rollercoaster situation …

Bottom line: how does one deal with this, in a still-growing boy? Does it ever end ? :frowning:

Lots, and lots of rest.

He should be avoiding any kind of strenuous exercise, and ALL contact sports until he’s well again. The only things you can give him are ibuprofen or acetominophen for pain and fever, plenty of fluids and TLC.

Perhaps you could invest in some Complan or a similar build-up supplement? This might be the time when the entire family has to eat your son’s favourite meals for the next few weeks. If his throat is still sore, ice-cream, milkshakes, broths and soups might be the best way to get calories into him.
If he gets worse, take him back to the doctor, he might have complications.


In my final year of school, half a dozen of my friends got it. Being high-achieving nerds, none of them took the recommended 6 weeks off school, as we had exams for university entry.

Of those 6, 2 ended up in intensive care with EBV complication, one with Guillain-Barre and EBV hepatitis, the other with bilateral tonsillar abcesses (quinsy) and splenic rupture. Extremely rare complications, but there you go.

He shouldn’t drink any alcohol.

I also, when I had mono, avoided caffeine. I ate alot of healthy foods, and slept…alot.

It helped and I was back to normal within 9 months. I know that seems long but by following the plan above I avoided alot of the complications that some people have. I was also in college at the time so many naps were in order.

I can second irishgirl’s recommendation of rest, and nothing but. I had mono in college. I came down with it at the end of fall semester and was sick all through Christmas break. I didn’t know what I had, but I was so sick that my parents thought I was going to die at one point. When I was diagnosed with mono, rather than be sick all winter semester, I made the snap decision to drop my winter classes and just rest… and I’m glad I did. On the days when I rested I felt ok, but there were a few days when I felt good enough in the AM to go out and do some things, but by 10:00 AM I was totally beat and was pretty much sick the rest of the day. When I had it bad I lost 30 lbs (Imagine me, a 6 ft 1 guy at 145 lbs :eek: ). I started feeling better around the middle of March, so I was sick for 2.5 months total.

So have your son rest. Mono takes a long time to recover from.

Do NOT give acetaminophen for mono. It is processed via the liver, which is affected by the mono.

Ninetywt, what has your son’s doctor said about the course of treatment throughout the next few months? If he or she hasn’t given you much feedback I suggest seeking another professional opinion.

Does it usually take months to recover from mono? Or am I abnormal?

I had mono when I was 35 (which I guess is old to get mono). Was diagnosed on a Sunday, took that week off of work. Went back to work the second week; working 4-5 hours a day instead of the usual 8-9. By the third week I was recoved enough to work full days (was still going to bed early though). By week 4, I was completely recovered. Of course I did sleep a lot and didn’t try to anything too strenuous.

I had mono in high school and it just takes rest and time to get over it. I had a severe case and was given steroids to help me breathe better, and they told me if I got any worse I would be hospitalized and fed via IV. But other than that I was told there was nothing I could do except rest and wait it out. I know it seems like 2 steps forward, 3 steps back sometimes but he will eventually get over it. Take others’ advice here and tell him not to push himself into doing too much.

I had a nasty case of it my senior year in high school. I was the lead in Romeo and Juliet and thought it was a cold. We did the performance that evening and I collapsed at the post-show party. The doc said I shouldn’t have even been walking much less performing and jumping around and such.

Three and a half weeks flat on my back after that. Drinking juice and eating healthy and I came back. But for that first week I was so strung out I couldn’t get out of bed.

Really, not much, exept for the standard spiel of rest, no contact sports, etc. He did say it might take six to nine months to feel completely well. Perhaps I’m over-reacting; it just frustrates me to no end.

I appreciate the responses. That’s exactly what I’m looking for: what happened when you had it, and how you dealt with it.

Mono affects people differently and the severity of the cases varies greatly. Some people have mono and never even know it, or think they just have a cold. The range goes from there all the way down to complications like others here have mentioned with the spleen being damaged and hospitalization.

Try some Ensure? It was designed for older people who feel little hunger and have trouble meeting their nutritional requirements.

I apparently had mono and never noticed it.

I’ve been diagnosed with Mono twice (yes, I’m special).

It must affect people differently.

The first time I was sick for two or three weeks, it really wasn’t too bad, other than that I lived on my own so I had to get my own chicken soup.

The second time was a low-level sickness for three or four months. I could function fairly normally (with shortened days) but was fired from my food service job for refusing to come in while sick. Bastards. That one never got really bad. My roommate ended up in the hospital because he decided not eating and drinking lots of wine would cure him. He’s an idiot, though.

My best friend in high school was diagnosed around February of his senior year, and he didn’t come back to school, missed graduation, etc. He was finally better that summer. He was bedridden and ate nothing but biscuits (mostly from Hardees) for most of that time.

Mono can take a while to suffer through and a while to recover from. I know that from person experience. You just have to keep taking in nourishment and get a lot of rest.
Maybe some Ensure would help him to pick up some weight?

personal experience

I had another uber-short mono experience. I got a sore throat while working at a camp a couple of summers ago. After a weak of it, I went to the doctors. They did a quick-strep test which came back negative and then pricked my finger to test for mono. The finger prick test came back positive. We were two days away from a four day break, so I just hung out in the nurses office until then. I was told that if I was feeling better later in the summer, I should wait a week and then I could come back to camp. By the end of the four day break, I felt better and was going a bit crazy from sitting around at home while all of my friends were at camp having fun. I waited the requisite week and returned to camp without any negative side effects that I could notice.

Up until I was diagnosed, I was quite active, probably more active then your average American. I only spent a week getting over it. I’m still not totally convinced it was really mono, but appearantly false positives on blood tests are pretty rare.

Nope, that’s normal. The same thing happened to me, in fact. My tonsils swelled and got raw, while my throat had big white dots on it. My fantastic doctor at Kaiser :rolleyes: asked me what was wrong, I explained. He looks in my throat and proclaims, “It’s strep.” Gives me antibiotics and then leaves. He didn’t even do a strep test.

Two days later I was in the hospital because my tonsils had swollen so large that I couldn’t breath. I was sort of out of it, but I recall the doctor saying something like, “One of the worst things you can do is give someone with mono antiobiotics.” Anywho, once they figured out it was mono, they gave me some steriods to reduce swelling, and sent me on my merry way. After all, there wasn’t much they could do (I was at the hospital a total of maybe three hours).

Over the next two weeks, I was weak, but not excessively so. I slept a bit more than usual, but no more than if I had a bad cold. In not too long (less than a month), I was perfectly fine again.

Hey, five times here. Yes, all diagnosed. Ugh. In the nineties, it got switched to a label of “recurring Epstein-Barr”.

Got me out of swimming three out of the four years of high school, though.

Also advice here to make him rest as much as possible. In my experience, alcohol made it much, much worse, so you might want to pass that along. Fruit/yogurt smoothies with raw egg (use pasteurized eggs if you’re nervous) were about all I could stand to eat for at least two months.

If it goes longer than 6 months, he should be reevaluated for a different diagnosis, like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:

From here

Your story sounds similar to mine DiosaBellisima.

It started in July of '92 after camping. I came home with what I thought was strep. I went to the doctor, he looked at my throat, at the fuzzy, painful white spots and diagnosed me with strep. Took the antibiotics and two weeks later, the white spots came back, only worse. I was tired and started rapidly losing weight. I went back to the doctor, they say, once again, it’s just strep, he says.
Whatever. I take another round of antibiotics. I get sicker, I’m so weak. Losing more weight. I have no energy whatsoever and all I want to do is sleep.

One Sunday mom takes me to an urgent care center. We tell the doc the whole story, how the ‘strep’ doesn’t seem to go away. He says, could be mono. Tells me to lie down, pushes on my spleen, and because it didn’t hurt when he did that he said, no mono. :rolleyes: I asked for tests. Nope. Not necessary he says.

One day at work a month later, I pass out, I was so weak and dizzy. I go home, tell my mom what happened, go to the ER and tell them, I’m weak, dizzy, and having difficulty breathing. But hey! Since the oxygen saturation in my blood was normal, I couldn’t possibly be having trouble breathing. I get sent home.

A few weeks later I have some sort of seizure. Odd. It’s mono. The weakness stayed with me for nine months. I could barely walk up a single flight of stairs, or down for that matter. This was weird because prior to the mono I used to work out 6 days a week. I broke out in a horrendous case of hives once too. I constantly had the throat issue . I hated to eat because I was never hungry and my throat always hurt. I ate mostly rice and green beans.
I avoided alcohol, tobacco, and even caffiene (I never did find out why I had a seizure) By about May of the following year ('93), all signs and symptoms seemed to disappear.

The EB Virus is what causes mono and most health professionals say that by the time we are adults we all have it; but it doesn’t become mono unless it is active. I had mono in college and I never knew it was possible to be so wiped out. It took about a month to really perk up at all and maybe another two to really be myself again. I had these horrible sores that made it really difficult to swallow so I never wanted to eat, and at one point my liver started to swell, pushing my insides around and just generally adding to the discomfort. There are things that the doctor can do for symptom relief, like the steroids that someone mentioned; but there is nothing to actually make it go away except time. The only thing that made me feel better was milkshakes… my roommate and boyfriend at the time were constantly trying to get me to eat and I just never wanted to. So we kept the blender hopping with various yummy flavors. The odd thing was that the “tiredness” that is so charachteristic of mono was not “sleepiness.” It was just the odd sensation of having no energy at all.