DD Medical Matters: Glandular Fever – what is it and how do I treat it?

written by Scally McDaid Roarty May 9, 2019

This week, Dr Ciarán Roarty of Scally McDaid Roarty Medical Practice looks at Glandular Fever.

What is Glandular Fever?

This is an infection usually in young adults and teenagers which is caused by a virus which passes from person to person in close contact eg. kissing but also through sharing cups etc.

It causes a number of symptoms including a sore throat with swollen glands (usually the neck glands are most noticeable ) as well as flu-like symptoms such as temperatures, aches and headaches. Some people develop puffy eyes.

The spleen which is located below the ribs on the left side can swell and sometimes become tender.

How do I know if I have it?

The symptoms can be similar to other viral illnesses so if your doctor suspects Glandular Fever they may organise a blood test to confirm the diagnosis.

How is it treated?

Like a lot of viral illnesses, no specific treatment is required. Fluids and rest along with pain relief medicines such as paracetamol or ibuprofen is the usual advice.

Avoidance of close contact with others will help reduce the chance of spreading Glandular Fever.

Alcohol can make symptoms much worse and should be avoided.

Antibiotics do not work for viruses and are therefore not beneficial, unless your doctor feels a secondary bacterial throat infection has set in.

Does it take long to settle?

Most people recover in a few weeks, occasionally longer and it is unusual to develop it a second time. Complications are unusual but include damage to the spleen. As it is swollen it is more prone to harm if trauma occurs. Usually, this is why your doctor will recommend avoiding contact sports for at least 8 weeks.

Some people can develop a red rash which is not itchy. Others may develop jaundice (a yellow tinge of the skin and whites of your eyes). It is quite common to feel low or a bit down during the infection with tiredness. This usually clears in time.

The above information is intended as advice only and should you have any concerns please contact your own Doctor.

Dr Ciarán Roarty MB, BCh BAO MICGP DRCOG Grad. Cert. Obst. Ultrasound is a full-time GP at Scally McDaid Roarty Medical Practice , Scally Place, Letterkenny, Tel 0749164111




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