Mono Rash

What is Mono Rash?

Mono Rash or infectious mononucleosis or Glandular fever is caused by the virus named “Epstein Barr virus (EBV).” People can be infected at any age, but it is generally common in teenagers between 15 to 25 years. It is also known as “kissing disease” as it expands through saliva. One can also get in contact with this virus through sharing foods, utensils, etc. It mostly has symptoms associated to skin and it is often confused with measles.

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How common is Mono Rash?

Children below one year can develop these infections, but symptoms are very mild or missing. Once a person suffers from Mono Rash, he or she will be immune to the disease for the rest of their life.
Many people are infected with EBV virus at some point in their lives and do not develop any symptoms. However, they can experience mild symptoms but it can become very chronic, and hinder regular activities for a more extended period.

Mono Rash Causes

EBV causes a Mono Rash. This universal and infectious virus is a part of the Herpesviridae virus family (other viruses are herpes simplex, human herpes virus 6&7, cytomegalovirus, varicella – zoster).

  • Transmissible through disclosure of body fluids comprising virus
  • Spreads through saliva
  • Transmissible through genital secretions and blood
  • With the progress of certain cancers like Burkitt’s lymphoma and nasopharyngeal

Mono Rash Symptoms

Common symptoms of mono are sore throat, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, fatigue and swollen glands. But signs develop gradually after four to six weeks. Some other symptoms are:

  • Malaise
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Body ache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Enlarged Liver or Spleen
  • Jaundice
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Tonsillitis
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Sore and red throat
  • Rash
  • Swollen glands

Painful and sore throat is among the most uncomforting symptoms of this rash which is somewhat unbearable for the 1st week. However, it eases in the next 3-4 days after a week.

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Mono Rash Risk Factors

The following age groups have a significant risk of mono:

  • Students
  • Nurses
  • Medical Interns
  • People between the ages of 15-30
  • Caregivers

Affected Organs with their symptoms are:

  • Joints: Arthritis
  • Spleen: Enlarged spleen (Splenomegaly)
  • Nervous System: Guillain Barre Syndrome, Transverse Myelitis, Meningoencephalitis, Bell’s palsy (facial palsy)
  • Kidneys: Glomerulonephritis
  • Lungs: Interstitial pneumonia
  • Gastrointestinal tract: Hepatitis
  • Heart: Pericarditis
  • Eyes: Keratitis, Eyelid swelling, Retinitis, Conjunctivitis, Uveitis
  • Blood System: Immunodeficiency, Thrombocytopenia (low patelet count), autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (breakdown of red cells), Neutropaenia (low white cell count) and cold agglutinins. Image Source:

Mono Rash Diagnosis

Experts rely on the result of laboratory and clinical check up to recognize mono rash. They can also ask about the duration of the problem and carry out a physical test in which glands of groin, neck, and armpits are checked. Expert might also check for an upper left portion of stomach for an enlarged spleen. Common tests include:

Count of White Blood Cells

This infection typically produces an increased number of blood cells called “atypical lymphocytes” to defend illness. However, a high blood cell count does not confirm EBV infection but suggests there is a substantial probability.

Complete Blood Count

In some cases, doctor requests for a full blood count, the results help to know the seriousness of the illness.

EBV antibody test

If the result of the monospot is negative, the doctor might ask for an EBV antibody test. This test checks for EBV antibodies, and it detects illness in the first week if there are symptoms, but it takes a longer duration to acquire results.

Monospot Test

The best way to diagnose mono rash is through a heterophile test or monospot test. It checks for antibodies or proteins which immune system develops to protect itself from harmful elements. Interestingly, it checks for different antibody group and not for EBV antibody, which is known as heterophile antibodies.
The test results are more stable if it’s done between second and fourth week after mono symptoms appear. During this period, the body develops adequate heterophile antibodies to stimulate a positive response. The results are not always accurate, but it is comfortable, and results are obtainable within hours.

Other viruses are more severe like hepatitis A and can cause same symptoms like mono, in this case, the doctor will figure out the possibilities.

Mono Rash Treatment

There is no particular way to treat this illness and it usually resolves on its own. Antibiotics don’t function against such infections. However, treatment only includes proper nutrition, bed rest and adequate amount of fluids.  Infections accompany a sore throat, tonsillitis, sinus infection, etc. Patient might need antibiotic treatment or salt water gargling will be beneficial. Pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen and for tonsils corticosteroid is ideal.

The antiviral drugs are also not suggested to treat mono. However, it requires supportive and focus on relieving symptoms associated with it. For example, pains, aches, headache and fever can be treated by the intake of acetaminophen.

Rash Risk with medications 
People suffering from mono are not prescribed penicillin derivatives and amoxicillin as it might develop a rash on the skin. However, a rash doesn’t symbolize medication allergy and other antibiotics less probable to induce rashes are advisable.

Mono Rash Complications

Mono rash is not a severe disease. Rarely, people develop other infections like sinus infections, tonsillitis, strep throat, liver inflammation and an enlarged spleen. Hence, treatment is restrained for specific complicated matters.

  • Mono rash is not treated with antibiotics
  • Hospital admission is not required, unlit the complications are seen.
  • Corticosteroids are prescribed in rare cases like severe thrombocytopenia in which the platelets count decreases (these are the clotting components of the blood), hemolytic anemia destroys red blood cells, and other severe complications include nerve and heart problems.

Mono Rash Prevention

EBV is prevalent in every age group, and exposure to the virus cannot be avoided entirely. But maintaining a healthy routine can prevent it from occurring.

How many days it lasts?

Mono rash does not have long-term complications, but only for 6-10 days. Red, small and flat patches appear on upper arms and trunks gradually spread to forearms and face. After other infections and fever are resolved, fatigue related to the illness might last for some months. Mono rash in rare cases extends and causes distressing illness.

Mono Rash Pictures

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