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Glandular fever treatments

1-minute read

There is no specific treatment for glandular fever. It is a viral illness, so antibiotics do not work (they work only against bacterial infections).

The main treatment is to get plenty of rest, look after yourself and drink plenty of fluids. Painkillers such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help to relieve pain and fever. Children under the age of 16 years should not take aspirin, because it may cause a serious condition called Reye's syndrome.

People with glandular fever should avoid contact sports, vigorous activities and heavy lifting while unwell to reduce the risk of rupturing their spleen.

Most people recover from glandular fever after a week or two, but in some people tiredness and swollen lymph nodes can persist for several weeks. Some people may not fully recover for a few months.

A person who has had glandular fever usually becomes immune to it for the rest of their lives, so a second bout of it is unlikely.

Last reviewed: May 2017

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