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What happens to your throat when you have mono?

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Quick Answer

Mono causes a sore throat that lasts for seven to 10 days in most individuals with the illness, according to Mayo Clinic. In some, it causes swelling of the tonsils to the point it becomes difficult to swallow or breathe.

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Full Answer

Infectious mononucleosis is a viral disease that passes through the saliva of an infected individual to an uninfected one. Symptoms are mild in some individuals, allowing people to spread mono without ever knowing they are infected. It takes 20 to 50 days for symptoms to appear after infection, according to the University of Michigan. Mono is most common in adolescents through college-aged adults. Fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches and fatigue often accompany the sore throat.

WebMD indicates that most people don't require medical treatment and get better in two to three weeks. If swelling of the throat is severe, doctors sometimes use corticosteroids to make breathing and eating easier. Salt water gargles and hard candies or throat lozenges help to reduce throat pain. While quarantine of the individual is not required, as some people are immune to mono, the patient should avoid overexertion.

Doctors use a medical history and physical exam to diagnose the illness. When doctors suspect mono, they may order monospot and Epstein Barr virus tests. If the patient is in the early stages, the monospot test often gives a false negative early in the infection, according to WebMD.

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