Glandular fever


Glandular fever, also known as Infectious Mononucleosis, is an infectious illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Symptoms typically include fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue, and may take up to 4 to 6 weeks to recover from. In some cases, a swollen liver or spleen can also be present. Glandular fever is contagious and can be spread through saliva, such as from kissing or sharing drinks with an infected person. There is no specific treatment for the virus, but rest, fluids, and OTC painkillers can help reduce symptoms and speed up recovery.


The most common symptoms of glandular fever include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Hepatitis
  • Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
  • Swollen, tender glands in neck and armpits


Glandular fever, also known as infectious mononucleosis, is typically caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). EBV is one of the most common human viruses and can be spread through saliva, meaning it is highly contagious. Other common causes of glandular fever include the cytomegalovirus (CMV) and the human herpesvirus 6 (HHV6). Less common causes include the rubella virus, adenoviruses, and the parvovirus B19.

Risk factors

Glandular fever is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) which is spread through contact with saliva or mucus from an infected person. Potential risk factors for contracting glandular fever include having contact with someone who is infected with the virus, having a weakened immune system due to an underlying illness or medical condition, traveling in areas where EBV is prevalent, and having a high-stress lifestyle. Other risk factors include being a teenager or young adult, living in a crowded environment, and having a large number of close contacts.


Glandular fever is typically diagnosed based on a physical exam and a blood test. During the physical exam, the doctor may look for signs such as a swollen spleen or swollen lymph nodes. The blood test looks for antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus, which is the virus that causes glandular fever. In some cases, a throat swab may be taken to look for the virus itself.


Glandular fever is also known as mononucleosis and is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). There are three distinct subtypes of glandular fever which vary based on severity and symptom presentation.

  1. Acute Glandular Fever: This is the most common type of glandular fever, and signs and symptoms typically occur suddenly. Patients can experience fatigue, sore throat, fever, swollen lymph nodes and glands, and enlarged spleen. In rare cases, jaundice and other complications can occur.
  2. Chronic Glandular Fever: This type of glandular fever can last for many months or even years and may be more severe than acute glandular fever. Symptoms include severe fatigue, fever, and swollen lymph nodes and glands. Other symptoms can include swelling of the liver and spleen, skin rashes and difficulty breathing.
  3. Relapsing Glandular Fever: This type of glandular fever has symptoms that can come and go over time. Patients may experience recurring episodes of fatigue, fever, swollen lymph nodes and glands, and other symptoms.

All forms of glandular fever can lead to complications and require treatment to manage symptoms and prevent any long-term complications. It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible if you think you may have glandular fever.


The treatment for Glandular fever is geared toward relieving the symptoms and allowing the body time to heal. Treatment options for Glandular fever include:

  1. Bed rest: This is essential for reducing the symptoms and for recovery.
  2. Over-the-counter medications: These can be used to help ease the symptoms of Glandular fever such as fever, body aches, and sore throat.
  3. Antibiotics: Antibiotics are usually prescribed to reduce the severity of the infection, however, they are not effective against the virus that causes Glandular fever.
  4. Painkillers: Painkillers can be used to help alleviate body aches and fever.
  5. Fluids: It is important to stay hydrated during this time to avoid dehydration.
  6. Diet: Eating nutritious foods can be beneficial in helping the body recover faster.
  7. Stress management: Stress can worsen symptoms and increase the risk of complications. Avoiding stress as much as possible can help speed up the recovery process.
  8. Herbal supplements: Herbal remedies can be used to help boost the immune system and reduce the symptoms of Glandular fever.


The most effective way to reduce the risk of glandular fever is to practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly and avoiding close contact with others who may have the infection. It is important to stay up to date with vaccinations, as this can help prevent the spread of the virus. Additionally, avoiding sharing drinks, utensils, and razors with others can help reduce the risk of the virus being spread.

Gender differences?

Yes, there are gender-specific differences in the presentation and management of Glandular fever. Females are more likely to experience more severe symptoms than males. Females tend to suffer from more frequent, longer, and more serious relapses of Glandular fever, meaning they may require longer courses of treatment. Additionally, females tend to be more prone to complications such as chronic fatigue syndrome and depression following Glandular fever infections. Due to the higher risk of complications, female patients should be monitored more closely and have more frequent followup visits with their healthcare providers when being treated for Glandular fever.


Nutrition plays an important role in the management of glandular fever since proper nutrition helps to maintain a healthy immune system. Eating a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins can help to restore the immune system to optimal health. Additionally, supplements such as zinc and vitamins A, C and E may be recommended to help fight off the virus. Staying hydrated is also important in order to keep the body functioning properly and to replace fluids lost due to fever. Consuming plenty of fluids and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks can help to keep the body hydrated. Avoiding certain foods that can weaken the immune system such as processed foods, high-sugar and high-fat foods may also help to reduce the symptoms of glandular fever.

Physical Activity

Physical activity can put an increased amount of stress on the body, which can be difficult for individuals with Glandular fever. This is because the Epstein-Barr virus, which is the cause of Glandular fever, can lead to extreme fatigue and a weakened immune system. Therefore, while incorporating physical activity into a treatment plan may have a positive effect, it should be done in moderation and with caution to ensure that the individual is not over-stressing their body. Additionally, individuals with Glandular fever should always consult with a healthcare provider before beginning any physical activity plan.

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