Font Size
A
A
A

Mononucleosis (cont.)

How is Mono Diagnosed?

Your health-care provider will rely on a combination of clinical and laboratory findings to diagnose mononucleosis. They will ask about the course of the illness and perform a physical exam.

The following blood tests can help confirm the diagnosis:

  • A complete blood count may show the white blood cell count to be high because of the infection. An increase in a type of white blood cell called "atypical lymphocytes" is common.
  • Liver function tests show elevation of liver enzyme levels in nearly 90% of people with mononucleosis.
  • A test that measures a type of antibody known as heterophile antibody is often performed. Heterophile antibodies are present in about 80%-90% of people with mononucleosis. They form in response to infection with Epstein-Barr virus as well as to other infections.
  • This test result is frequently negative in young children or early in the course of the disease.
  • The qualitative heterophile antibody test (Monospot) gives either a positive or negative result. This test takes minutes to perform and provides results right away.
  • Epstein-Barr virus-specific antibody testing may be used for people with suspected mononucleosis who have heterophile antibody test results that are negative. It can also be used to test for atypical cases of mononucleosis or in young children who are suspected of having mononucleosis.

Are There Home Remedies for Mono?

The treatment for mononucleosis can generally be accomplished at home with plenty of rest, fluids and over-the-counter medications.

  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for fever and pain control.
  • Throat lozenges or gargling with warm saltwater may soothe a sore throat.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Rest in bed and limit activity according to the degree of the illness.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise and contact sports until the doctor allows resumption of activities. The spleen may be enlarged, and vigorous activity may cause it to rupture. Most doctors believe that a person with mononucleosis should postpone strenuous activities for at least one month after the onset of symptoms or until the spleen has returned to its normal size.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/17/2016

Must Read Articles Related to Mononucleosis

Sore Throat
Sore Throat Sore throats are generally named for the anatomical site affected, such as:
Swollen Lymph Nodes
Swollen Lymph Glands Lymph nodes (part of the lymphatic system) may signal infection if they are swollen. Types of conditions that involve swollen lymph nodes include infection, vir...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Mononucleosis:

Mononucleosis - Treatment

What treatment was effective for your mononucleosis?

Mononucleosis (mono) - Symptoms

For infectious mononucleosis (mono), what were the symptoms and signs you experienced?

Mononucleosis - Experience

What is your biggest challenge with living with mono?


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Infectious Mononucleosis »

Infectious mononucleosis was first described by Sprunt and Evans in the Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1920.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary