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What are the treatment options for mononucleosis?

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Quick Answer

Rest and drinking plenty of fluids are the most effective treatments for mononucleosis, according to Mayo Clinic. Since the illness is caused by a virus, it does not respond to antibiotics. If secondary infections arise, however, they are treatable with certain types of antibiotics that do not complicate mononucleosis.

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Patients with mononucleosis may require several weeks or months of rest to fully recover, warns Mayo Clinic. Home remedies such as gargling with salt water or taking over-the-counter pain relievers may help ease symptoms.

Attempting to resume normal routines too soon after contracting mononucleosis can create serious complications, warns Everyday Health. Since the illness causes enlargement of the spleen, the organ can rupture during sports and other strenuous activities. This constitutes a medical emergency and requires immediate surgery to stop internal bleeding, notes Everyday Health.

The illness can also cause damage to the liver or heart muscle, reports Everyday Health. Lowered platelet counts and anemia are possible blood-related complications.

WebMD suggests that patients pay close attention to their bodies' clues during recovery from mononucleosis. In most cases, patients recover within two to three weeks without complications, and most patients are able to resume full activities within about a month, according to WebMD.

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