Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Besides getting plenty of bed rest, these steps can help relieve symptoms of mononucleosis:

  • Drink plenty of water and fruit juices. Fluids help relieve fever and sore throat and prevent dehydration.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Use pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) as needed. These medicines have no antiviral properties. Take them only to relieve pain or a fever.

    Use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Though aspirin is approved for use in children older than age 2, children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin. This is because aspirin has been linked to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, in such children.

  • Gargle with salt water. Do this several times a day to relieve sore throat. Mix 1/2 teaspoon salt in 8 ounces (237 milliliters) of warm water.

Wait to return to sports and some other activities

Most signs and symptoms of mononucleosis ease within a few weeks, but it may be two to three months before you feel completely normal. The more rest you get, the sooner you should recover. Returning to your usual schedule too soon can increase the risk of a relapse.

To avoid risk of rupturing your spleen, wait at least one month before returning to vigorous activities, heavy lifting, roughhousing or contact sports. Rupture of the spleen results in severe bleeding and is a medical emergency.

Ask your doctor when it's safe for you to resume your normal level of activity. Your doctor may recommend a gradual exercise program to help you rebuild your strength as you recover.

Dec. 19, 2012