How Long Does It Take To Recover From Mono?

Although the symptoms of mononucleosis are similar, but more severe as compare to flu or cold. Thus, the recovery period is more in mononucleosis as compared to flu.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Mono?

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Mono?

The symptoms of mononucleosis are mild to moderate and do not have any major debilitation effects except fatigue and weakness. The general symptoms are similar to cold and include headaches, swollen lymph nodes, swollen tonsils, sore throat, headache, and fever.

4 to 6 weeks is the incubation period of the Epstein Barr virus. The incubation period is defined as the period calculated from the date of invading the body by the virus to the presentation of the symptoms. Most of the symptoms last for 1 month such as swollen tonsils, sore throat, and fever. However, for complete recovery from the fatigues and weakness, the mono patient may require 2-3 months.

After complete rest for the required period, the mono patient may be back to work with the same energy. However, if the fatigue and weakness do not subside even after 6 months of rest, the evaluation should be done for chronic fatigue syndrome as studies have concluded coordination between chronic fatigue syndrome and Epstein Barr virus infection.

After the symptoms subsided, the virus becomes dormant and would remain the blood cells for the rest of life. The recurrence of the infection is rare and occurs in conditions leading to a compromised immune system. These conditions are HIV infection, organ transplantation, and pregnancy. During the recovery period, the patient should not immediately perform a strenuous task; rather the efficiency should be increased gradually.

The recovery becomes more troublesome in some conditions. These are the conditions which result in the development of complications. These complications require medical intervention and, in its absence, may lead to serious consequences. These complications include splenomegaly, acute anemia, high fever, liver dysfunction including hepatitis and jaundice, increased risk of cancer and other lymphoproliferative disorder and post-transplantation problems.

Prevention Of Mono

Recovery requires a considerable period of time along with the suffering. Thus various preventive techniques should be applied to prevent the infection. The approach is to prevent the infection from spreading as well as to improve the immunity. The patient should avoid kissing and take a healthy diet to fight against infection. Sneezing should be with a handkerchief and all the common things such as doorknobs and switches should be disinfected.

Diagnosis Of Mono

Diagnosis of the disease is done through physical examination and blood tests including antibody tests. Following are the diagnostic methods available for diagnosis of mononucleosis:

Physical Examination. The doctor may physically examine on the basis of symptoms presented by the patients, although the symptoms are similar to cold or flu but are severe and more chronic as compared to flu. The symptoms examined by the doctor include a severe headache, fever, abdominal pain, swollen lymph nodes, and swollen tonsils. The patient may also suffer from a sore throat.

Complete Blood Cell Count. Complete blood test count is advised by the doctor to evaluate the number and characteristics of different cells. Mononucleosis is characterized by the increase in the number of lymphocytes leading to lymphocytosis. The number is increased by bone marrow in response to infection. The lymphocytes present in this disease have special characteristics.

Mono Spot Test. Mono spot test is the test done to evaluate the presence of antibody. This test provides quick results. However, the results are unreliable and almost 20% of the results are false positive.

Antibody Test. This test is done to confirm the false negative conclusion of the mono spot test as the physical examination indicates mononucleosis. The test requires a considerable period to get results and is more reliable as compared to the mono spot test.

Specific Test. Specific tests for Epstein Barr virus are also applied to confirm the presence of infection. These tests include nuclear antigen test and capsid antigen test.


Most symptoms of mononucleosis last for 1 month while the full recovery can be within 2-3 months. Recovery period more than six months may indicate increased complications.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 26, 2019

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