Home Remedies for Mononucleosis Symptoms

Infectious mononucleosis, or mono, is usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. It causes symptoms like fatigue, rash, fever, and swollen glands.

Mono is spread through saliva and thus is sometimes called the kissing disease. However, mono can also result from the exchange of blood or semen through sexual contact.

Though mono cannot be cured, you can manage your symptoms at home with over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers or fever reducers, rest, and lots of fluid.

A woman sick and tired in bed

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Symptoms

Symptoms can resemble those of strep throat, including swollen lymph nodes, a sore throat, and a fever. Other symptoms include body aches, fatigue, abdominal pain, and swollen tonsils.

Mono symptoms usually don’t appear until about four to six weeks after exposure to the virus. Symptoms that do not resolve in about 10 days usually warrant a call to your healthcare provider. In rare cases, symptoms such as fatigue may last for six months.

Fatigue

Severe fatigue is a common symptom of mono. Fatigue can be accompanied by symptoms such as body aches.

Feeling fatigued is different than feeling tired or sleepy. Fatigue occurs even when someone has gotten adequate rest. It can manifest as both physical and emotional tiredness.

Sore Throat

Swollen tonsils and sore throat are two other common symptoms of mono. Swollen tonsils are usually obvious: They will appear much larger when you observe them in the mirror. Your sore throat may make it painful or difficult to swallow.

Fever

A normal body temperature is 98.7 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37.0 degrees Celsius. A temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit is generally considered to be a low-grade fever, but fevers above that lasting for more than 48 hours warrant a call to your healthcare provider.

Home Remedies

Rest

Rest is very important since it helps someone get through an illness. Your body will be tired from fighting off an infection, which can result in a sense of fatigue that is different from everyday tiredness. Make sure you get enough sleep and avoid unnecessary activities.

While you are recovering from mono, it is critical not to engage in strenuous activities that could rupture your spleen, which is enlarged due to the infection. You are also more likely to be vulnerable to liver symptoms, so it is best to avoid alcohol during this time.

Reducing psychological stress can also help since fatigue has both emotional and physical effects. If possible, ask for help with your daily responsibilities and focus on getting better.

If you are taking a cool bath or shower to lower your body temperature, try using a lavender-scented lotion afterward to relax. In a study of 92 adults, individuals exposed to a lavender aroma had less stress following a task of working memory compared with people who were exposed to placebo.

Other tips to reduce mental stress include meditation, gentle yoga, deep breathing, enjoying an audiobook or favorite TV show or movie, cuddling with a pet, and playing relaxing music.

Sore Throat Relief

Gargling with salt water or using throat lozenges can help with a sore throat. Dissolve a half teaspoon of salt in warm water and gargle. Spit it out after 30 seconds, and use a fresh salt and water mixture each time.

Consuming cold food items, such as frozen yogurt, ice cream, or popsicles, can soothe a sore throat as well.

Fluid Intake

Make sure you drink lots of fluids while recovering from mono. If you don’t like drinking water, try sugar-free water flavor drops to enhance the taste. You can also drink tea to stay hydrated.

Fever Remedy

Taking a cool bath or shower, or making sure the room temperature is low enough to be comfortable, can help relieve fever symptoms.

Ice packs can also help not only lower your body temperature, but also relieve the pain caused by body aches. Do not place an ice pack directly on your skin. Instead, wrap the ice pack in a towel before putting it on your skin. Not doing so could result in frostbite.

You can also take fever-reducing medications at home. If your fever is not controlled afterward, you should contact your healthcare provider.

Headache Relief

Headaches can be treated using an OTC pain-relieving medication, and can also be relieved by lying down, avoiding harsh lighting, and ensuring that you are hydrated. Cold compresses can help as well, as can taking a cool shower or bath.

When to Call Your Healthcare Provider

Home remedies are acceptable for managing symptoms that follow a standard mono diagnosis, but there are more concerning symptoms that require medical help. These symptoms include extreme aches, consistent high fever, sharp pain in the abdomen (indicating a potential spleen or liver issue), dizziness, or fainting.

If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant and suspect you have mono, contact your healthcare provider.

Mononucleosis Doctor Discussion Guide

Doctor Discussion Guide Man

A Word From Verywell

Mono can cause considerable disruption to your daily life. By taking good care of yourself and using certain home remedies like rest and drinking lots of fluid, you can alleviate the discomfort of your symptoms and potentially speed up your recovery process.

Complications from mono are rare, but may be more likely to occur if you are of advanced age, immunocompromised, or pregnant. See your healthcare provider if you think you may be vulnerable to complications or if you have unusual symptoms.

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6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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