How long does mono last? This is one of the very first questions many people ask after they discover that they have come down with a case of the infamous "kissing disease." While the time frame can vary, there are some typical time frames for the mononucleosis virus that can give you an idea of how long you could be under the weather.
Mono, typically contracted through contact with saliva, mucus from the throat and nose or tears, can last for weeks or even months. The illness is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus and it usually afflicts children and adolescents. In addition to being passed by kissing, mono can also be spread through sharing drinking glasses, silverware or toothbrushes.
Mono causes extreme fatigue and weakness. Unfortunately, because it is a virus, there is no medicinal mono treatment, other than acetaminophen for fever and body aches. Taking good care of yourself, getting plenty of extra rest and eating a healthy diet can help you recover from mono, but the virus typically must run its course before any real improvement is seen.
While mono symptoms are present, you may need to miss some of your regular activities, including school or work. Mono can cause an enlarged spleen, so it is important to avoid heavy lifting or contact sports for about four weeks after you contract the illness or until your doctor gives permission for you to resume exertion.
Mono can be diagnosed through blood tests, including the monospot test and the Epstein-Barr virus antibody test, although the monospot test can come back with a false negative early in the course of the virus. A complete blood count may also be done to rule out other things. There is no real definitive test for mono, but medical history and a physical exam, exposure to the virus and these confirming blood tests are used together to diagnose the illness.
Mono is fairly common among teens and children. If you are diagnosed with mono, you should avoid close contact-yes, including kissing- until the illness has passed to avoid passing it on to others.