Glandular fever symptoms

Glandular fever is a viral illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. It is contagious and a common occurrence in developed countries especially amongst young adults and adolescents. We take a look at glandular fever symptoms so you can seek appropriate relief measures and treatment for yourself and others around you.

Understanding the illness

The Epstein-Barr virus is the main culprit in 90% of cases glandular fever. Although it is highly contagious, it can only be contracted through contact with a person's saliva. Hence you can get it by sharing utensils, toothbrush and through kissing. Glandular fever symptoms include the following:

  • high fever
  • sore throat
  • swollen glands
  • malaise
  • fatigue
  • sweats
  • chills
  • painful muscles
  • puffiness
  • jaundice

Moreover, the inside part of the throat will turn red and fluid may ooze. You might also get rashes. The roof of the mouth may have red or purple spots. The above symptoms will usually resolve on their own within 2 to 3 weeks. Sore throat will be at its peak 3-5 days after the onset of symptoms whilst fatigue will occur for several weeks. In fact, it is not unusual for fatigue to be felt even for months long after other symptoms have disappeared.


Your doctor will check for the presence of the above symptoms to confirm glandular fever. The doctor might also order blood tests to rule out the existence of other diseases.

Glandular fever relief

There is no set of prescribed treatment for grandular fever. The aim is to alleviate the discomfort brought about by glandular fever symptoms and to bring them under control. Hence, the doctor will offer you advice and support such as the following:

  • drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration

Water is the preferred liquid over juices. Alcohol must be avoided.

  • rest

Resting is very important so the body can recover from the discomfort and fatigue experienced with glandular fever.

Other relief options

As there is currently no treatment for glandular fever symptoms, it is important to practice good hygiene to prevent the virus from spreading from one person another. Furthermore, antibiotics may be prescribed if there is suspicion of a bacterial infection in addition to corticosteroids for swollen tonsils, anaemia, pericarditis or encephalitis.

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