What is Mono?

  • Mono is frequently called the kissing disease, and though mono can be spread by kissing, it is FAR more commonly spread by:
    • Coughing
    • Sneezing
    • Sharing drinking glasses
  • Mono is caused by a virus. This means that antibiotics will not work to treat it.
  • Mono usually isn’t very serious, but it can make you feel miserable for a while. Some people with mono may be more ill than others.
  • Most people have had this virus by the time they are 35 years old. Many people never knew that was what they had.
  • Once you have had mono, you do not usually get it again.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Sore throat, sometimes following strep throat
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Headache
  • Skin rashes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain


  • There is a blood test to check for mono, but it may come back negative unless you have had symptoms for at least a week. This blood test can be done at the Health Center.
  • The incubation period for mono is usually 4 – 6 weeks.


  • Mono is a virus that is always around.
  • There is no vaccine to prevent mono.
  • Good health habits can decrease your risk of contracting the virus.
  • Get enough rest and eat healthy foods to support your immune system.
  • Do not share food, dishes, glasses, or utensils.
  • Do not donate blood for at least 6 months after the onset of the illness to prevent spreading the virus to others.


  • Get plenty of rest. Do not push yourself to continue doing everything that you are used to doing. Be patient with your body while it recovers.
  • Gargle with warm salt water.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, such as juice or water.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication such as Tylenol or Advil.
  • Do not drink any alcohol for at least 1 month.
  • Avoid contact sports until a healthcare provider tells you that it is okay to play.
  • Most signs and symptoms will ease within a few weeks, but it may be 1 – 3 months before you feel completely normal.