Commonly known as the kissing disease or mono, mononucleosis is a highly contagious infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, a virus from the herpes family that targets lymphocytes and epithelial cells.
Mono is also sometimes called glandular fever, Pfeiffer’s disease or Filatov’s disease. Read on to know how to treat mononucleosis with simple home remedies.
Generally present in the saliva and mucus, the virus is mostly spread by kissing, sneezing and coughing, or sharing food utensils or straws. However, the virus is not spread by any sort of casual contact, so others can freely live in the same house with an infected person and not catch it.
That said, teens and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 and others with weak immunity are at a high risk of contracting the virus.
Also, the virus can lie dormant in a person without causing any symptoms and be transferred to another person, who then develops symptoms.
While the condition is benign, in certain cases it can lead to an acute infection that can result in impairment of the immune system.
Symptoms of Mono
- Fever ranging from 101° to 104°F (38.3° to 40°C) and chills
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Swollen lymph nodes (especially in the neck)
- Sore throat
- Sore muscles
- Swollen tonsils
- Headache or body aches
- Pain in the upper left part of the abdomen (due to enlargement of the spleen)
- Loss of appetite
Home Treatment for Mono
Mono usually heals on its own within 2 to 4 weeks. However, once you have had the virus, you can test positive for it for the rest of your life, even after the symptoms resolve.
There is no cure for mono, since it’s a viral not a bacterial infection. The basic treatment for mono involves addressing the symptoms associated with the infection. Below are three effective and natural remedies to treat mononucleosis symptoms.
Method 1: Use Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one of the most effective remedies for treating mononucleosis and its symptoms.
The oil contains lauric acid, which converts itself into monolauric acid, an effective antiviral molecule that helps kill the virus that causes the infection.
Moreover, coconut oil contains incredible antibacterial properties, antifungal and healing properties that accelerate the recovery process in the body.
Single-Step Treatment: Consume coconut oil directly
- Take 2 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil daily, in the morning and evening. You can take it with yogurt for better results.
- You can also add extra virgin coconut oil to your salads or use it as a medium for cooking your food.
Alternatively, you can purchase coconut oil gel capsules from your local health food store.
Method 2: Use Vitamin C
Vitamin C has both a preventive and therapeutic role in controlling the spread of the mononucleosis virus and the symptoms associated with it.
A water-soluble vitamin, an antioxidant and an effective immune-booster, vitamin C is an essential component of a mono treatment regimen that helps support your immune system to speed up the recovery time. Similarly, vitamin C can also provide relief in whooping cough.
A micronutrient essential for good health, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) performs a number of biological functions in the body. This includes synthesis of collagen, carnitine and neurotransmitters; acting as a co-factor for a number of enzymes; boosting metabolism; accelerating wound healing; and supporting nervous system functions and immune cell health.
You can use vitamin C to treat mono in some simple ways.
- Some food sources that are rich in vitamin C include lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, kiwis, pineapples, blackberries, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and Swiss chard.
- Depending upon the severity of the symptoms, you may opt for vitamin C supplements.
- The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 1 to 2 grams (1,000 to 2,000 milligrams), every 3 to 4 hours. When the symptoms subside in 1 or 2 weeks, reduce the dose to a total of 1,000 mg daily.
Note: An aggressive dose of vitamin C may cause diarrhea in some people. Add citrus bioflavonoids (1,000 mg) every few hours to make vitamin C more effective. You can also obtain citrus bioflavonoids from foods rich in vitamin C like citruses, broccoli and pineapples.
Method 3: Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking a glass of diluted apple cider vinegar can be a powerful health tonic for the treatment of mononucleosis.
The acidity of apple cider vinegar delivers natural antioxidant properties, while flushing away toxins and cleansing the back of the throat. As a part of mono treatment regime, apple cider vinegar provides the body with a variety of vitamins and minerals that help eliminate the mononucleosis infection and improve immunity.
Single-Step Treatment: Dilute apple cider vinegar and drink it twice daily
- Pour 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into a glass of warm water. Stir well.
- Drink the concoction twice each day to ease symptoms and accelerate recovery. This remedy may provide relief in the symptoms in about 1 week. If your symptoms are severe, they may take longer to subside.
- While treating mono, it is important to get lots of rest, even during the daytime. The more rest, the better and the faster you’ll recover.
- If you have strep throat, gargle with warm salt water throughout the day to prevent mononucleosis, as strep throat easily turns into mononucleosis if not treated quickly.
- Drink plenty of fluids to flush out toxins and give your immune system the strength it needs to fight mononucleosis.
- Quit smoking until you completely heal, as smoking can make your symptoms worse.
- Moisten your throat frequently by sucking on a piece of candy or a Popsicle.
- Take over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil) to reduce your fever and relieve throat pain and soreness.
- Do not give aspirin to someone below 19 years of age, as it can cause Reye’s syndrome, a serious illness.
- Avoid strenuous activity, contact sports and heavy lifting, which may cause your spleen to enlarge and ultimately burst.
Summary of How to Treat Mononucleosis
Download this infographic.