Infectious Mononucleosis Symptoms – Sore Throat, Swollen Glands, Fever and Cough

Acute infectious mononucleosis symptoms can include a red sore throat, swollen lymph glands, fever and respiratory discharge. Although these infectious mononucleosis symptoms may be annoying and uncomfortable, they are your body’s way of ridding the virus from your system.

Let’s have a look at these infectious mononucleosis symptoms in more detail and see why they should be allowed to run their course, rather than be suppressed with conventional medication.

A sore throat.

When your throat is infected by a microbe like Epstein Barr – the virus that causes mono, your body responds immediately. The throat tissue sends out biochemical distress signals that attract phagocytes – the white blood cells that kill and scavenge the virus.

Your throat may appear red and inflamed but there is a reason for this. The blood vessels in the affected area widen and become more permeable in order to allow more white blood cells, immune proteins and warmth to flood the tissue.

Your sore throat is a signal that Nature is taking its course. The best response is to rest your body, avoid overuse of your voice, keep yourself hydrated and let your body heal. If you continue to rush around, use your voice or take pain killers to mask the pain you may find you prolong your recovery or get even sicker.

Swollen glands

Sore, swollen and inflamed glands are a typical infectious mononucleosis symptom seen throughout this illness. Swollen glands are normally felt in the neck although some people feel them in the armpits and groin.

The role of the lymph is to drain your body of antigens like viruses and to produce antibodies to fight infection. When your glands are swollen it means your body is working overtime to rid the infection from your body.


Of all the infectious mononucleosis symptoms, fever is probably the most debilitating. It will make you feel heavy, tired and lethargic.

Fever plays a crucial role in fighting mono. Its job is to raise your body temperature to the point where viruses and bacteria cannot survive. Fever also stimulates interferon which stops the virus from spreading to adjacent cells.

Fever should be allowed to run its course unless it goes dangerously high (above 40 degrees C or 104 degrees F). Very high fever can trigger convulsions particularly in children. To lower a high fever sponge the body with luke warm water or have a tepid bath. Avoid using aspirin or Tylenol as studies have shown that taking these can suppress the body’s ability to produce antibodies which fight the invading organism. Aspirin in particular should be avoided as it has been linked to Reye’s Syndrome – a potentially fatal disease which causes brain and liver inflammation. This risk is greatest in children under the age of 16.

Respiratory infectious mononucleosis symptoms – coughing, sneezing and nasal discharge

When an infection strikes, your body produces histamine which causes immune cells to flood the area triggering infectious mononucleosis symptoms like swelling and pain. Histamine also causes mucus to be produced to help flush dead microbes out of the body. Nerves in your throat and sinuses sense swelling and mucus, forcing you to sneeze, cough and blow your nose.

Taking cough medicine, antihistamines or nasal sprays may reduce the natural elimination of the Epstein Barr virus from your body. This can lead to a longer recovery time or it may lead to secondary conditions like sinus infections, bronchitis or pneumonia.

It is vital that you allow your infectious mononucleosis symptoms to run their course naturally. A sore throat, swollen glands, fever and respiratory discharge are all indications that your body is fighting the infection. Suppressing your infectious mononucleosis symptoms with pain killers, cough medicine, antihistamine or corticosteroids will only mask your symptoms temporarily.