Avatar universal


i had mono over 16 years ago and had so many of the problems you all describe for over a year. bad news: my immune system has been out of whack since. good news: you can beat it and have a good life. i've written here what i wish i knew 16 years ago.

since some of you aren't getting good info from your drs, here's some background on epstein barr virus. EBV is actually the virus that causes mono. mono is an acute reaction to it. but 99% of people have been exposed to this virus by the time they're adults. when exposed for the first time as a child, the reaction is usually mild. but the older you are when first exposed, or if your immune system has some innate vulnerability, the harder it'll hit you. some people can develop autoimmune hepatitis during acute mono.

for those of you who find mono lingers past a month or so, i have some advice.

1: take a leave of absence from your job, school, etc., for six months, find someone who loves you, and let them care for you so your body can heal. if you have a parent who can do this, great. otherwise, turn to a friend. if you can't have someone care for you,  and i know that's not always possible, do your best to never push yourself: eat well, sleep well, meditate, get light exercise but not much, practice reading (it helps with the neurological symptoms) but don't push yourself.

2: THIS IS KEY: i don't normally advocate for medications, but go to your doctor and ask to be put on a trial of tricyclic antidepressants, such as imipramine, for a short while to help you recover. they are relatively safe (older and more researched than the newer SSRIs), but do have some mild side effects. the key with them is they both work on depression and promote deep sleep. if you can't tolerate these, or don't have a doctor, try Benadryl, which is an allergy medication. it's also relatively safe, non-addicting, and the important thing is if you take one Benadryl (two if you're a bigger person) at bedtime, it should help you to sleep. this is the key for feeling better with chronic post-mono symptoms. i was on imipramine for two years, then have only used Benadryl since when i have a minor relapse brought on by stressful events.

3: take a good vitamin. i like Just Once by Rainbow Naturals, you can find that at the health food stores. drink kefir. Nancy's kefir is amazing and non-alcoholic. it will help your immune system. make sure to eat fiber with it; apples are best, they have the kind of fiber that the probiotics need for digestion. otherwise, don't worry too much about supplements. you can waste a lot of money on those and not have appreciable effects. not saying they aren't useful in some conditions, but EBV is a different deal. also some of them (echinecia being an example) are not good to take for long, especially if you have something like EBV--they can overactivate your immune system if used improperly and cause problems long-term.

4: get off the Internet. go have some fun (rent a movie, since that's about all you can do with mono) with a friend, etc. read a book. meditate. anything is more relaxing than thinking about your illness. you need to have a reason to want to be engaged in life again.

5: make your home somewhere really pleasant and happy to stay. add a reading corner with some plants and a lamp with a full-spectrum lightbulb, the kind they use in Norway. this will help with your mood and give you a good place to recover.

5: when you're feeling better, sign up for a good exercise class that combines exercise with meditation and/or stretching, such as yoga, pilates, tai chi etc.

6: if you are having severe problems, please do get checked out for autoimmune issues, since mono/EBV is associated with these. a rheumatologist will give you a lot of standard bloodwork, but remember to ask for a full panel, not just the standard two, of antiphospholipid antibodies as well.

11 Responses
Avatar universal
7: one last thing: if you happen to suffer recurrent throat infections, make sure you drink a lot of water and try taking 1-2 zinc lozenges a day (ColdEeze are best), but only while your throat is infected. too much zinc causes other deficiencies, so moderate on this one. but it will help and prevent you having to use antibiotics regularly.
Avatar universal
your info is helpful - thanks!
i'm 50 and was knocked down with EBV exactly 2 years ago.  i am much better than before, but, not well, yet.  i was very active, playing tennis and racquetball several times a week.  for the past 2 years it is very hard to recover if i do play a game of tennis.  (racquetball is out of the question.)  i am SO tired of this!  will i EVER get well again?
Avatar universal
Did you actually get Mono or did you test positive for EBV, chronic fatigue?  Just curious because I test positive for EBV but not for Mono and my MD says I do not have it.  I am 56 years old and have been sick for 6 months and out of work for 2 months because I was so sick.  What were your symptoms when you started, if you would like to share.

Avatar universal
i tested positive for EBV  
the start of this was achy - swollen glands - and FATIGUE.  i tried to do my normal activities, but, was realizing that any activity caused me so much fatigue.  this fatigue is really bad.  very week and hard to focus and even communicate.  how about you?  what are your symptoms?   i still have these symptoms, but, most of the time it is not as severe as it was the first 4 or 5 months.
Avatar universal
I had two teeth out one a year ago the first roughly two (lower molars)
ever since I have been struck with what I believe to be EBV which hit hard after the first tooth extraction leading to Chronic fatigue the main problem is the painful swollen lymph nodes first in neck now my left arm there seems to be little acceptance of the situation from any medical staff or my GP. Although I can feel my body strengthening I am still not back to normal as previously I was as described by friends anfd family as the iron man able to run and mountain bike for miles the trouble is as well the shocking headaches i get I am 35 soon 36 and feel like I am getting old before my time can anyone suggest the best way to beat this evil virus.
650547 tn?1271773198
I hope this doesn't sound rude, but did you read the original post?  The information that youcanbeatEBV posted is spot-on.  The single most important thing you can do (listed in #1 above) is get as much rest as you possibly can for a while.  Then SLOWLY ease back into your regular routine.  It won't go as quickly as you want (For me, it took about 2 years before I felt I was really back to "normal".), but hopefully you'll also be able to see the progress you're making over time.  Hope this helps!
Maybe we should try to cure the Epstein barr.  You don't always get mono. If you feel better without serious medical or herbal care, then you probably just had mono. Mono does not cause Ep. barr... Ep barr can give you mono so if you feel better, you reduced the mono symptoms but you would still have Ep. barr. So the  symptoms will come back......I know this....I never had mono. and yes, you would think any viral meds would help but with 60 versions of Ep. barr it is hard.  Two things you can try....see an infectious disease center and read Anthony Williams books...  (orange and blue covers) Medical Medium  
Avatar universal
I'm experiencing all the fogginess and tired a lot also.I was just diagnosed with mono again but I don't think it's as bad as the first time I had it but it still is a pain.The doctor also said it read minimal in my tests but it may have just been the beginning for me.I had all the fogginess before and it did go away after a lot of time but at least it does.Man it sure is a pain though in every way.
Avatar universal
I think it is curious you mention that everything started when 2 teeth were taken out. In my case, it was since I went to physiotherapy and the lady misplaced the shortwave device over my head instead of my wrist. For some reason this "radiation" triggered everything. Could it be that EBV or Chronic fatigue are linked to heavy metal toxicity???
I read a theory on Kasia Kines website that EMF’s can reactivated EBV.
yes and no. Reducing heavy metals is GOOD but will not cure the epstein barr. It will reduce a lot of other symptoms like brain fogg.  And also make sure your thyroid is healthy since heavy metal and ep . barr will kill your thyroid. so all the synthroid in the world is no cure for ep barr and heavy metals killing your thyroid. i know this since I had mine removed only to find out  (too late) that I was drowning in mercury. Green smoothies with a lot of spirulina helps a lot
Avatar universal
I'm also dealing with EBV, just diagnosed in march of this hear after over a year of blood work and over 15 years of chronic fatigue and strange muscle injuries. no doctor could help and just kept prescribing pain meds, anti-depressants, muscle relaxers and dozens of other things...but they didn't know what the problem was and this was soooo frustrating to me and they didn't want to spend more than 2 visits with me...too time consuming for them. well after reading up on many blogs like this and doing much research on my own, I came across some alternative sites and read about the healing properties of plants...namely Neem, Olive leaf (known for helping with ebv), lemon grass and papaya leaf, milk, juice or extract. IT WORKS!!! I'm only about 65-70% of my old self... an "exercise nut", but I started trying some of these in moderation in april and have only been to the doctor once since and that was in the  Philippines where I did some more testing and found out the my immune system is screwed up because of the virus. one Dr. there actually encouraged me to go the natural way...he said we should be able to beat EBV once we could get our immune system on track...those plants have been helping with that. The key is to get your rest 8-10 hours, plenty of fluids (water) and a proper diet. lots of greens and protien (fish and nuts) my severe symptoms started suddenly last Jan 2010 and I've been battling ever since. my body has gone through everything from sharp pains and muscle spasms all over my body, peeing blood, swollen and painful glands, kidney stones, irregular heartbeat, vision problems and skin problems...it's like a never ending twilight zone movie. I'm getting stronger, but still suffer from some fatigue, but last month I played 4 games of basketball for the first time in 2 years and have started riding again, only about 10-12 miles...but that's a big improvement from being hospitalized twice in 2 weeks feeling like i was going to die!
Avatar universal
I also forgot to mention that I've been working in the design and printing business the last 8 years and I do think exposures to the inks and cleaning chemicals had a trigger effect. I only dealt mostly with the fatigue and muscle injures prior to the explosion of the virus. on my trip to the philippines i took off a month from work as one Doc suggested and most of my symptoms subsided. after a week of being back at work...my numbness and burning pains started slowly coming back.
Avatar universal
i'm so grateful to have found this post!
I am now 19, I was 17 when I got glandular fever which is another word for mononucleosis. I was hospitalised and also in leaving cert so was more or less forced to have a quick recovery in time for my exams. I got it in January and was 'recovered' and back to school by March. Felt more or less back to myself. Started college in September and started to get very sick in October, over time after endless antibiotics & misdiagnoses and a year of hell, i have finally gotten diagnosed with EBV last month. It is affecting 7 of my organs but now taking supplements prescribed by a specialist.
I start back to college again in 3 weeks and after barely getting through first year because of how sick I was, I've been debating deferring my year to let myself get better. Seeing this post it has really helped me see that there is light at the end of the tunnel !
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