Skip to content

Mononucleosis Complications

Font Size

Topic Overview

Most people recover from mononucleosis (mono) without any complications. But there are many possible complications of mono. These include:

  • An enlarged spleen, which occurs in up to 75 out of 100 people who have mono.1
  • Red spots or rash, which can develop if you are taking certain antibiotics. The rash is not an allergic reaction.2
  • Mild anemia, which usually goes away without treatment after 1 to 2 months.
  • White blood cells (lymphocytes) that look abnormal may result from a mononucleosis infection.
  • Mild hepatitis, which usually goes away on its own without treatment.3

Other complications of mono can occur but are very rare. These include:

Recommended Related to Lung Disease/Respiratory Problems

Coronavirus

A coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous. Some types of them are serious, though. More than 100 people have died from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which first appeared in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and then in other countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. In April 2014, the first American was hospitalized for MERS in Indiana. He had just returned from Saudi Arabia. People...

Read the Coronavirus article > >

  • A ruptured spleen. The risk of this is greatest in the second or third week of the illness. It can be the first sign of mono in a small number of people. A ruptured spleen requires immediate surgery.
  • Airway obstruction and difficulty breathing, which may be caused by severely swollen tonsils that block the throat. Corticosteroids may be given to reduce swelling. In severe cases, the tonsils may need to be removed surgically (tonsillectomy).
  • Brain and spinal cord problems.
  • Cardiac problems, such as irregular heart rhythms, which can occur during the first 3 weeks of mono. These types of problems usually resolve on their own.

While it is not a complication specific to mono, a serious disease known as Reye syndrome can develop if you give aspirin to a person younger than 20 to treat symptoms of mono. Aspirin should not be used to treat symptoms of mono. Other medicines, such as acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) or ibuprofen (for example, Advil) can help relieve fever and pain caused by mono. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

Even if you have a complication of mono, it is likely that you will recover completely.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 22, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Mononucleosis Complications Topics

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

sore foot
3 warning signs.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Epinephrine Injection using Auto-Injector Syringe
Life-threatening triggers.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
psoriasis
What it looks like.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms and treatment.
man behind computer screen
10 possible causes.
Woman with itchy watery eyes
Common triggers.
man screaming
Making sense of symptoms.
human liver
What puts you at risk?
caregiver with parent
10 tips for daily life.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.