Mononucleosis | Treatment

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Can mono be cured?

No, there isn't a cure for mono. But the virus will go away on its own. Symptoms usually last about 4 weeks.

How is mono treated?

The main goal of treatment is to relieve your symptoms. The following list includes tips on treatment:

  • Rest. Sleep helps your body fight infection.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. They help prevent dehydration.
  • If you have a sore throat, gargle with salt water or suck on throat lozenges, hard candy or flavored frozen desserts (such as Popsicles).
  • You may want to take acetaminophen (one brand name: Tylenol) or ibuprofen (some brand names: Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) to relieve pain and fever. Do not give aspirin to children. Aspirin should be avoided because it has been associated with a disease called Reye's syndrome in children. Reye's syndrome is a serious illness that can lead to death.

Do I need an antibiotic?

Antibiotics are not effective against mono. Mono is caused by a virus and antibiotics don't work against viruses. If you have a bacterial infection in addition to having mono (such as strep throat), your doctor may give you an antibiotic to treat that infection.

What about sports and exercise?

Avoid sports, physical activities or exercise of any kind until your doctor tells you it's safe. Moving around too much puts you at risk of rupturing your spleen, especially if it is enlarged. You need to avoid physical activities and contact sports for about 3 to 4 weeks after you've had mono.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 09/00

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