Mononucleosis, or mono, is a viral infection that usually affects teens and young adults. Most adults are already immune. Mono can make you feel extremely tired, weak and feverish.

It’s generally not serious but can cause complications for people with a weakened immune system.

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What causes mononucleosis?

The Epstein-Barr virus causes mononucleosis. Mono symptoms can take four to six weeks to develop after exposure to the virus.

What are symptoms of mononucleosis?

Mono symptoms start with feeling extremely tired and weak. Other signs of mono include:

  • Sore throat or swollen tonsils
  • Swollen glands
  • Body aches
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Skin rash

Symptoms of mono typically last two to four weeks. Some people may feel tired for months.

Is mononucleosis contagious?

Mono got the nickname “the kissing disease” because it can spread through kissing. The virus can also spread through coughing, sneezing or any contact with saliva.

Symptoms don’t show up right away, so you can spread the virus without realizing it.

How is mononucleosis treated?

The best treatment for mono is lots of rest and drinking fluids. Your healthcare provider might also suggest an over-the-counter painkiller. An antibiotic won’t help because a virus causes mono.

There’s no vaccine for mono. If you get mono, the virus will stay in your system, but you probably won’t have symptoms more than once.

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If you think you might have mono and don’t feel better after a week or two, visit your nearest CareNow® urgent care clinic.

You can also use our Web Check-In® feature to wait from the comfort of your own home before we're ready for your visit.

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