Glandular fever

If you have a very sore throat, swollen glands in your neck or in other parts of your body, and if you have been feeling very tired and unwell, you may have glandular fever. Go to your doctor to get it checked out.

 What is glandular fever? 


Glandular fever is common and is sometimes called ‘The Kissing Disease’ because the virus that causes it is found in saliva and is passed on by close contact such as kissing.  The medical name for glandular fever is Infectious Mononucleosis.


How is it spread?


Through saliva and close contact, such as kissing, but also sharing things like cups or toothbrushes. It can be spread when the person you get it from is sick, but also sometimes when they feel well.
It takes about 4 to 7 weeks to get sick after getting the virus.




They usually start slowly. You might start to feel sick, tired, have a headache, tummy pains, not feel like eating or have aches and pains across your body.
One or two weeks later your throat will get very sore and you will usually have a fever (up to 39°C), and large tonsils, sometimes with white spots on them, and you will feel sicker. You may get a rash.
Glands (lymph glands) will swell and get tender, especially those in your neck. Your spleen and liver usually are also affected (get bigger than usual and not work as well as usual). It is important to avoid sport if your spleen is swollen (see your doctor).


How long will I have it?


Many people recover after about a week, but you might feel tired and unwell for several weeks. Sometimes, during the first year after getting glandular fever, you may get sick again for a week or so. After that, it usually stays away for good.


Can I see other people?


Yes, when you are feeling up to it. There is no need to stay away from other people, so you can return to school or work when you feel well enough. Wash your hands, don't share cups, etc and stop kissing people for a couple of weeks to avoid giving the virus to others. Sitting close to someone with glandular fever or hugging without kissing does not spread the infection.

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