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9 Silent Signs Of Mononucleosis You Should Never Ignore

Mononucleosis, also known as Mono is an infectious disease that is usually caused by EBV or Epstein-Barr Virus. Mononucleosis is often a mild disease that goes away without any treatment in some weeks. Many people having Mononucleosis do not even know they have it. This EBV responsible for Mononucleosis affects around 90% of the worldwide population, and it attacks mostly teenagers and young adults in the age group of 15 years to 30 years. One must know about the symptoms of this disease to get a quicker recovery. In this article, we will read about some of the silent signs of mononucleosis you should never ignore.

Silent Signs Of Mononucleosis You Should Never Ignore

Mononucleosis: An Introduction

Mononucleosis or “mono”, is an infection caused by a virus and can result in flu-like symptoms that usually show up 4-6 weeks after you get it. Sometimes it is also known as the “Kissing Disease” because the virus generally spreads through smooches or kisses.

The most common causative agent of Mononucleosis is the EBV or the Epstein-Barr-Virus. This virus is a lymphocrytovirus and infects 90% of the people across the world, the majority of whom have no recognizable sickness. The EBV is spread by intimate oral contact. Though it is most common in adolescents, however, it is unknown how preadolescents acquire this virus.(1)

Epstein-Barr-virus was discovered in 1964 by Epstein et al. using electron microscopy for detecting the virus in cultured Burkitt lymphoma cells.(2)

Though EBV is the main culprit for Mononucleosis, other viruses can also give you the disease. Just because you get the virus, does not mean that it will turn into a serious case of Mono. Many infected individuals, especially the small kids, have only a few symptoms (if any).

Some of the symptoms of Mononucleosis could be the sudden onset of sore throat(95%), cervical lymphadenopathy(80%), upper respiratory symptoms(65%), fatigue(70%), reduced appetite(50%), myalgia(45%), fever( 47%), and headache(50%). (3) Few may even suffer from body pains and aches, skin rash, and feel more tired because of Mononucleosis.

Read further to know more about the silent signs of mononucleosis you should never ignore.

Silent Signs Of Mononucleosis You Should Never Ignore:

Sore Throat:

It could be a silent sign of mononucleosis if you have a sore throat, swollen tonsils, or swollen lymph nodes, particularly on the side of your neck. You should ask your doctor for testing for mononucleosis along with strep throat. Many individuals have EBV or the primary viral cause of Mononucleosis, in their system throughout their lives, but this can be known only through a blood test.


Getting exhausted is quite normal with any illness. However, severe fatigue is one of the silent signs of mononucleosis you should never ignore. Fatigue in the case of mononucleosis is long-term and persistent. So, if you feel more exhausted you should consult with your doctor and be ensured about getting tested for mononucleosis.


Fever could also be one of the silent signs of mononucleosis you should never ignore. A fever is the way of your body telling that it is fighting off a particular sickness. Keep a track of the temperature you get in fever and how long you have the fever. A flu, or cold might cause a fever that lasts for 2 days. But, if you have mono then fever would be for longer. A fever of 102 or 102 degrees F that persists for more than 3 days could be a sign of Mono. You should check with your doctor if there is a persistent fever.

Breathing Problems:

You might also have breathing problems, shortness of breath, or not being able to catch your breath, and also audible breathing, if you have Mononucleosis. Complications of this condition can result in obstruction of the airway from inflammation, thus leading to wheezing or difficulty in breathing. So, if you experience flu-like symptoms and difficulty in breathing, make sure that you see your doctor and get yourself well diagnosed.

Abdominal Pain:

You can get an enlarged spleen if you have mononucleosis. This is rather an early alarming sign that your body is trying to fight off the EBV. You will start feeling pain in your upper left part of the abdomen. And this abdominal pain is not a joke. You should always consult with your doctor if you feel even a dull or mild pain in the abdomen.

So, abdominal pain is also one of the silent signs of mononucleosis you should never ignore.

Skin Rash:

You should also pay attention towards skin rash if any. Sometimes mononucleosis could also show up through rashes on the skin. Sometimes, when you go for a checkup of your sore throat and your doctor gives you a treatment for strep, then watch out if you experience skin rashes. If you have mono, you are more likely to react to the antibiotics that are particularly prescribed for treating strep throat. One must note that this is the first indication that someone has mononucleosis. Talk to your doctor if you develop a skin rash and get yourself tested for mononucleosis.

Reduced Appetite:

One more silent sign of mononucleosis is that you experience a reduced appetite. If you do not feel hungry all day, then this could be possibly because of Mononucleosis. A healthy diet that is loaded with vegetables and fruits and plenty of fluids is the key to recover from this viral disease. However, do not forget to consult with your doctor if you experience a reduced appetite all of a sudden.


Headache is a less common yet another silent sign of Mononucleosis that you must not ignore. Talk to your doctor if you experience sore throat, or flu-like symptoms along with headache.

Developing Other Illnesses:

Some of the rare yet severe complications of mononucleosis are meningitis, Guillain-Barre, and encephalitis. So, there are possibilities that you might have signs of these illnesses if you have mononucleosis.

If You Have Kissed Someone Who Has Mononucleosis:

Mononucleosis is also known as the “Kissing disease” as it gets easily and frequently spread through saliva. Though you can also get the disease by sharing utensils or cups, an easy clue that you might suffer more than a common cold or flu is if you and someone with whom you have shared an intimate kiss have similar symptoms of mononucleosis for a long time.

Final Words:

One must know that Mononucleosis is not fun. Though it is usually considered an illness that most young adults and teenagers get, however, one must not forget that anyone can get the disease. Make sure that you are well aware of the signs and symptoms of Mononucleosis and reach out for medical help in case you suspect of having the condition. Moreover, you should always wash your hands properly and remain away from people who are sick.

You should keep it noted that Mononucleosis can look similar to any other illness, such as the common cold or the flu. So, keep a strict eye on your signs, especially the ones that do not look like that of a flu, such as, skin rash, persistent fever, and chronic fatigue. If you suspect it to be a silent sign of mononucleosis, you should never ignore it and contact your doctor to get properly diagnosed and treated well.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 22, 2023

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