Diet and Nutrition

5 Tips on Living with Mononucleosis

5 Tips on Living with Mononucleosis

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the symptoms of mononucleosis
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Consult with your professional health care provider frequently

People with the mononucleosis (or mono) infection can live perfectly normal lives by doing what is best for them during their period of affliction. In this review, I have outlined the most essential tips on living with mononucleosis. In choosing these tips, the emphasis was focused on the well-being of the patient and those who live in frequent contact with them. The disease usually disappears after a couple of weeks. Mono symptoms might change with time, often demonstrating phases of waxing and waning. After the initial fever of infection fades, the fever may suddenly spike now and again while the virus makes it way through the body. Since there are no therapeutic drugs for mono, the patient should focus their attention and efforts on eliminating or reducing the symptoms. The five tips are:

  1. Understand the symptoms of mononucleosis.
  2. Consult your professional health care provider frequently.
  3. Get plenty of rest
  4. Eat foods that boost your immune system and keep yourself hydrated
  5. Take your medication as prescribed.

Understand the Symptoms of Mononucleosis

It’s important to familiarise yourself with the symptoms of mononucleosis. The most obvious symptoms indicating infection are fever and a sore throat. The sore throat will become worse during the time period between the onset of the infection and three days after. The fever is likely to last for up to two weeks. Enlarged spleen and swollen lymph nodes may also result. The swollen glands can persist for up to four weeks afterwards. Your energy levels may also drop and take a significant amount of time to go back up, even after all other symptoms have faded. Sometimes, a rash may occur, but this rash may not appear in the elderly with mono. Understanding the signs and symptoms of mononucleosis will put you at the forefront in determining when to ask for medication, consult your doctor, or do away with some medications. Headaches, malaise, and nausea are also common symptoms of mononucleosis, but these usually occur accompanied by other, more severe symptoms. With no complications, the symptoms of mono will resolve by themselves after a period of about four weeks. However, the virus itself may not leave the body for a much longer period of time. The virus silently replicates in the body for between thirty and fifty days after infection.

Consult Your Professional Health Care Provider Frequently

If you have been diagnosed with a mono infection, your physician is most probably the one who confirmed it. The natural thing for them to do after this would be prescribe some medications for your condition or refer you to a more specialised doctor. During this period, you should regularly consult with your doctor, especially if you observe some symptoms you are unsure or unfamiliar with. This is also essential in cases whereby the patient reacts negatively to the medications prescribed. The doctor is better equipped with more knowledge about your condition and hence is best suited to change or recommend other treatment options suitable for you. It's advisable to set a date for your next appointment with your doctor each time you meet them; this way, you won't neglect your health and your doctor will be able to check in on you frequently. 

Get Plenty of Rest

In the first few weeks after infection sets in, patients usually experience fatigue and a general feeling of weakness. You may experience a sharp decrease in your normal energy levels. To deal with this, it’s important that the patient receives plenty of comfortable rest. This also means that the individual should restrain from engaging in strenuous and energy consuming activities, which include contact sports and lifting heavy commodities. In addition to giving your body some much needed rest, adherence to this practice significantly reduces the chances of rupturing your enlarged spleen. It's important to remember that when the body is infected with a virus such as the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis, the body is constantly in combat mode. Putting yourself under duress by engaging in physical exercise is one way to ensure further complications arise. Restrain from moving or talking too much, and it's also advisable to attempt to reduce stress in various areas of your life to keep your body stable. Stay home from school or work especially during the immediate onset of the infection; even though mono is not contagious except via saliva and physical contact, it is advised to stay home for your own sake. 

Eat Foods That Boost Your Immune System and Keep Yourself Hydrated

Your diet should focus on consuming foods that enhance and strengthen your immune system. This necessitates foods rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and supplements such as omega three fatty acids. This includes most fruits, leafy green vegetables, beans, lean meat, and fish from cold waters, among others. Red meat, processed foods, commercially prepared products, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco should be avoided at all cost. Fried food is generally a bad idea; the high content of saturated fats in oily and fried foods can impede functioning of the heart and slow down the recovery process. You need to keep yourself hydrated, by drinking plenty of water and other fluids, like fresh juices. It is advisable to consume a meal balanced in both carbohydrates, vegetables, and protein, accompanied by plenty of water. When the body is sick, it relies on fluids to keep functioning properly, and certain side effects of being sick with mono may result in dehydration. Diarrhea and vomiting will dehydrate the body, so you should be especially careful to drink ten to twelve glasses of water a day while the body recovers. Consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet rich in the qualities listed above can greatly boost your immune system, and this enhances its ability to fight disease-causing microorganisms as well as reducing the severity of your mono symptoms.

Take Your Medication as Prescribed

Although there is no known immediate cure for the mono infection, health professionals in most cases do prescribe medications aimed at easing the symptoms. Make sure you follow the exact schedule of medication your doctor has prescribed to you. Mono can have nasty effects on the body, and since it lasts for a significant period of time, taking your medicine religiously is the best way to ensure you can continue living your life while you wait for the infection to die down. Since mono is a virus, antibiotics will not help; the only way to 'cure' mono is to wait for the virus to leave the body. As the patient, it will be best for you to adhere strictly to the guidelines prescribed by the doctor. In case one is using over the counter drugs to relieve pain, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions keenly. Drugs that produce undesired effects such as allergic reactions should be ceased and taken to your doctor immediately. Side effects may be a consequence of any strong drugs you take, but if the effects are severe, like consistent vomiting or migraines, cease all medication and consult your doctor immediately. Make sure you're aware of any long-term consequences of any drugs you may ingest before taking them. 

By following all these steps, you are well on your way to ensuring a quick and healthy recovery from mono.