The Epstein Barr virus that causes mononucleosis replicates silently in the body for between 30-50 days after initial contact before symptoms are seen. Acute symptoms of mono last between 1 – 4 weeks. Typical initial symptoms include sore throat, swollen glands, fever and fatigue. Other signs of infection like muscle aches, headaches, respiratory discharge, nausea, poor appetite and light sensitivity may also be present.
Research on university students showed that about 20% of students returned to studies within a week of the onset of mononucleosis. About 50% returned within 2 weeks.
Other studies have shown that about 50% of all mononucleosis patients still have symptoms 2 months after infection. About 30% report symptoms at 3 months. Approximately 10% still experience symptoms at 10 months. 24 months after infection a small percentage of people still exhibit symptoms.
Most people get mononucleosis only once however about 6% of mononucleosis patients get relapses for months or years after the initial infection. Chronic symptoms of mono last anywhere from 6 months to a lifetime. The predominant chronic symptom is relapsing fatigue although a recurring sore throat, swollen lymph, body aches and low grade fever may also be present.
When mono does last for months or years it is essential to rule out other conditions that may be contributing to a low immune system. Tests should be done to look for underlying bacterial infections like mycoplasma, Lyme’s disease and Chlamydia pneumonia. Nutritional deficiencies like anemia and other conditions like auto-immune disease, weak adrenals and an under active thyroid should also be checked for.
How long mono lasts can also depend on how well you treat your body. If you rush around, eat poorly and don’t rest then it is likely that you will prolong your recovery. If however you take time to rest your body, drink plenty of pure water, and support your immune system with the correct supplements and diet, then you should find that your mononucleosis is not prolonged.
Symptoms of mono last anywhere from a few days to a few years. Make sure you look after your self in order to give yourself the best chance of a full and complete recovery.