I haz got mono?
October 3, 2010 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Do I have mono? Should I be worried I do?

My allergies have been bad for about 2 weeks. Finally went to the walk in clinic on Saturday after having a sore throat for a couple days. Also had swollen glands in my neck and my whole head hurt, eyes and ears included. Other than the eyes, none of these symptoms are unusual for me when I get sick.

Doc took strep test, negative. Then he announces, "I think you have mono. There's a lot of it going around." He takes blood, runs a test for mono, inconclusive. Then he says something like, "well that doesn't prove anything bc you might have it and not test positive for another 10 days." He also x-rays my sinuses and says they are clear. He gives me 875 mg of Amoxicillin (2x day) and tells me to give it three days to clear up if it's a mysterious non-mono thing.

I have several concerns. I had a fever yesterday, then spent the whole night/early morning sweating that out. Today, no fever, throat is bearable rather than raging. Eyes and ears feel much better. YANMD, but does that hopefully mean the meds are working on whatev this is? I'm worried because he said take off Monday but how much better should I be feeling Monday to go back to work? If I don't should I go back to the doctor? If it's mono, he can't do anything anyway, right? I don't have a regular doctor, but I guess I could go back to the walk-in clinic and see a different doctor. (I realize there isn't a lot of concrete answers about mono, but if the doctor seems to be guessing, than I'll take yours too.)

Also, I've been dating someone new for a little over a month. She's never had mono that she knows. Have I already exposed her? If they can't tell me if/when I have it, how the hell do I know how long to try to not kiss her because I'm contagious? We were together Friday night, so do we bother at this point?

Thanks for the info guys. Never known anyone with mono so it's all new to me. Oh and I'm 30 yrs old, fwiw.
posted by CwgrlUp to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The main thing about mono is it takes a really long time to recover. Fatigue is one of the main lingering symptoms. If you're feeling out of it for more than a week, yeah, it's probably mono.

The bad news is that mono is contagious for a long time, up to several months after you feel better. The good news is, it's not particularly virulent. As long as you aren't kissing your coworkers or sharing glasses, it's probably safe to work as long you are feeling physically up to it.

As for the SO, I'd let the new them make the decision about whether or not they want to be exposed.
posted by zug at 12:31 PM on October 3, 2010

Pretty much all you can do if you have it is sleep (forever and ever), so I wouldn't be concerned about rushing back to a doctor for a diagnosis. Mono has a really long incubation period, so it's very possible your ladyfriend has already been exposed; you can be contagious for, like, a year after you get infected, though, so it's up to you guys if you want to take all the precautions.

If you're still feeling crappy and you really want to know for sure, go back to the doctor in a couple of weeks and have another test run. But there's really not a whole lot you can do other than round up a gaggle of teenagers to commiserate with.
posted by phunniemee at 12:33 PM on October 3, 2010

1) Could be mono, but it's really rare for someone your age to get sick from mono. Usually by 30 you have already been exposed (95% of adults age 35-40 have been infected says the CDC, so for 30 it's probably a significant number as well since peak infection age is 15-17, apparently). Exposure to Epstein-Barr Virus (the one that causes mono) only leads to mono about half the time (depending on age).
2) If it is mono, this won't be a like, feel better in a few days, go back to work thing, you'll be feeling kinda shitty for at least a few weeks, most likely, and more fatigued than usual for as long as several months (in some people, longer). Go back to work when you feel okay to work, but don't worry about infecting co-workers if it's mono.
3) If your girlfriend is around your age, there's also a good chance she has already been infected and either didn't get sick or didn't get sick enough to go to the doctor and be diagnosed with mono.
posted by elpea at 1:07 PM on October 3, 2010

Oh yes, and there's pretty much nothing the doctor can do for you if it is mono other than maybe prescribe things to help with the symptoms. You just have to sleep a lot, stay hydrated, and wait it out. If you're able to eat decently enough now and you have tonsils that are starting to swell, try to eat as much as you can, because your tonsils could get so swollen and painful that it's hard to eat.
posted by elpea at 1:09 PM on October 3, 2010

I remember getting mono when I was younger and remember asking the same questions. My doctor told me that most people have already gotten mono when they were a baby or a little kid, but since they were so young, it was not diagnosed as such. So its likely your girlfriend already had mono and is immune to it, but better safe than sorry.
posted by LindaGao at 1:13 PM on October 3, 2010

Nth-ing what everyone else has said re your gf's probable previous exposure, but just wanted to add that you should watch out for the complications if it does turn out to be mono, namely splenomegaly. The first time (I'm so lucky) I had mono I was just exhausted for many months, but I apparently managed to get it again 15 years later, and I did have the whole enlarged spleen thing, and it was quite uncomfortable in addition to being dangerous (if it ruptures). The spleen's in the upper-left quadrant of the abdomen, but I don't think everyone gets that discomfort even if it is enlarged? Anyway, even without that, mono is no fun. Feel better!
posted by lysimache at 1:35 PM on October 3, 2010

If it's mono, the amoxicillin will let you know. This is because, when a person has mono and takes amoxicillin, there's a very strong chance that, after a few days, they will break out in a full-body rash that is red, itchy, and bumpy.

Hopefully, because the blood test was inconclusive, you do not have mono and therefore will not get a rash all over your body and face from taking amoxicillin. You should know if that's the case after about 5-6 days of taking the medicine.
posted by wondermouse at 1:44 PM on October 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

FWIW this doesn't sound like mono to me. While you can get other stuff when you have it because you are so run down, the single overwhelming identifiable feature is unbelievable exhaustion. Like, sleep 23 hours, crawl to the bathroom, go back to bed, repeat.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:46 PM on October 3, 2010

Also, I have two friends who have gotten mono as adults, so it's not all that rare.
posted by wondermouse at 1:54 PM on October 3, 2010

Oh man. It sounds like you have mono. baxter_ilion had it through July/August (about a month)(it was a rollicking fun summer around here), and the reason HE went to the Dr was because of the fever at night/fine during the day thing.

After he was certain it was mono (and the feverwent away) he had the SORE THROAT OF DOOM for a week. The dr gave him steroids and he was much better.

(IANAD, and as baxter_ilion is sitting next to me on the couch reading over my shoulder, it's not creepy that I'm posting his medical stuff at all).

He was tired, but it was not unbelievable exhaustion ("Well, not any more than usual" says he). He slept more, but he wasn't dragging ass all the time. He just tired out more easily than he used to.

The Dr checked his liver enzymes to be sure he had mono. When he got better, the Dr said his spleen looked "beautiful". We had a good laugh at that one.

I did not catch it (but there is reason for me to believe I am immune, YMMV). I 'cooked' a lot of soup. Also, FWIW, he's 32.

Good luck. I hope you feel better soon. Take it easy.
posted by bibliogrrl at 2:04 PM on October 3, 2010

Ugh, what wondermouse said. My brother came down with mono about three weeks ago, and he's 35. He found out it was mono because a doctor gave him amoxicillin for swollen tonsils... about 1 week later: all-over rash. The tops of his feet were the worst part, but I think taking Benadryl helped to bring down the swelling. Since then, he's been working five or six hour days—more than he probably should, really—and sleeping much of the rest of the time. It's a pretty listless experience, but not as bad as DarlingBri describes, so there are degrees of lassitude. Here's hoping it's not what you've got.
posted by mumkin at 2:21 PM on October 3, 2010

Mono usually affects adults differently than teenagers. I had it a couple of years ago at age 40. It's not the knock you on your ass and you don't want to get out of bed sickness that you get as a teen. In adults, it's usually more of a lingering blah feeling that takes several months to get over. But you will probably be able to work and more or less function as you recover. You'll just feel like crap doing it.
posted by COD at 3:21 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

to add to the anecdata: had mono in my early 20s. Was hellishly tired for a week -- like, nearly passed out from the effort of walking to the bathroon and brushing my teeth -- and had ridiculously swollen tonsils, so much so that it hurt to drink water. But my symptoms cleared up pretty soon afterward.
posted by nicoleincanada at 3:59 PM on October 3, 2010

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