Glandular fever explained

What is Glandular Fever?

Glandular fever, also known as mononucleosis, is an infectious disease caused by Epstein Barr virus (EBV). It’s common in teenagers and young adults. Glandular fever is spread from one person to another in the form of saliva through kissing, coughing, sneezing, and sharing eating and drinking equipment (e.g. cups, glasses and eating utensils). A person who’s suffering from glandular fever is contagious for months after the infection, so good hygiene is important.

Signs and symptoms

Glandular fever symptoms can gradually appear and can last for weeks to months. It takes between 4 to 6 weeks from being infected to developing symptoms. According to the experts at House Call Doctor, the symptoms of glandular fever include:

  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen glands (particularly in the neck)
  • Rash
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Jaundice (Yellowing of skin and eyes) – occurs less frequently

Yet despite this, up to 50% of people infected have no symptoms of infection at all. Illness can also appear to be more severe to those who have a lower level of immunity. A blood test can best diagnose whether or not you’re suffering from glandular fever.

How to treat glandular fever

Unfortunately, due to glandular fever being a viral illness, there’s no specific treatment. The main recommended treatment is getting plenty of rest, looking after yourself, and drinking plenty of fluids. Contact sports, vigorous activities, and heavy lifting should be avoided to reduce the risk of rupturing their spleen. If you’re experiencing severe pain and a high fever painkillers, such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, may assist in relieving the pain and fever.


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