Glandular Fever / Mono / EBV - HELP!

Posted , 4 users are following.

Hi there,

I'm hoping to get a bit of understanding on my Glandular Fever.

I was diagnosed 6 weeks ago today after the symptoms floored me:

  • enlarged lymph nodes on my neck
  • nausea
  • sore throat (puss covered tonsils that swelled up to the size of golf balls and I was unable to swallow)
  • swollen forehead / face
  • headaches
  • tingling all over
  • the need to sleep a lot

The symptoms have all but gone but am left with an overwhelming fatigue and feeling of general malaise - I have at least one 1 hour nap a day and sleep 10 - 12 hours a night. I also still feel the tingling every day but not as constant and only when I've pushed myself to go for a little walk.

I'm a 36 year old woman, very active (my commute is an 8 mile cycle in each direction) with 2-3 fitness classes or tennis lessons a week on top.

I'm running out of sick leave from work but the thought of a one hour commute through London in each direction and a 9 hour working day simply feels impossible right now.

What are others experiences when attempting to return to work? How long were you off for? Did you do shorter days to start with?

How about getting back to exercise? I'm watching my muscle tone dwindle daily but understand there is no way to work out, it's just sad to see.

Any tips especially regarding work would be appreciated.

Thank you!

1 like, 8 replies

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8 Replies

  • Posted


    im 43 year old male. ive had it a while now i cant pinpoint the exact starting point... possibly last November then it floored me in march for a week but then i returned to work. In April i was floored for 3 weeks. Main symptoms were glands under arm pits up but an overall Malaise and feeling of head pressure, light headedness and a spaced out feeling. Brain fog and confusion were resultant. After April I went back to work and the first week was hard but I worked at home 2-3 days a week at my discretion, I still need to now for 1 day a week and I just keep my line manager informed. Without doing this I would have struggled. Your Dr can suggest you do reduced duties so get their support if you need to. Overall you need to rest. I was fit like you, I was KOM on the Strava app in a few places on my bike, but ive not cycled in 2019, only when i thought i was improving did i go out. Unfortunately its a long road to recovery so you'll think you're improving but then go backwards so dont exercise like you were. Over a year in I feel better but its taking a good while to get to 100%. Pace yourself and you can do things, over do it and it will take longer to recover. Prioritise the essentials, try and enjoy yourself to a degree but accept that rest is very important.

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    • Posted

      Hi William,

      Thanks so much for your reply.

      I'm chatting with the HR director at work tomorrow to look at making a plan for getting back to work, most likely on reduced hours and possibly in an office nearer to home WFH is not an option.

      This page has been so great to see how "normal" my symptoms are.

      I have a cup of positivitea every morning and will continue to do so in my adapted, quieter life.

      I haven't had an alcoholic drink since it all kicked off six weeks ago and am not planning to any time soon. What has your experience been with booze?

      Thanks again for taking the time to write such an honest and positive reply.

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  • Posted

    Hi Ellie,

    I'm just over 4 months in. I'm a 38-year-old woman and was very active prior to the virus too. I've only just started to return to my regular form of exercise (running), and even then I have weeks where I either catch something else (I caught tonsillitis over Christmas, so there went any exercise then) or I relapse (I tend to get virus flare-ups around my period, where a lot of the symptoms return for a few days) and I have to put exercise on the backburner.

    My advice is to take it slow - this is not an illness where pushing yourself physically pays off. I started off with short walks as a toe-in-the-water, and built from there. Listen to your body, eat well, drink lots of water, and try to keep stress at arm's length (easier said than done, I know - especially when you're thinking about work and how to manage things while you're still not well).

    Best of luck - I hope you experience a speedy recovery!

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    • Posted

      Hi Emma,

      Thank you so much for your reply.

      Great to hear that you're running again after 4 months. I'm definitely aiming to be doing more than a lap of the garden by then so that's great!

      I've seen a lot of people talking about hip pain on here which I have suffered with for almost four years with no conclusive results - maybe it's been rumbling away all that time. Is that something you have experienced?

      I also noticed how awful it was around my period; searing headaches and my face swelled up and body tingled. Not fun.

      Are you back at work now?

      Again, I'm really grateful for your reply and great to have understanding on this really odd little virus that is messing about with us all!

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  • Posted

    lay off the booze... but the odd one every now and then is ok. Your plan with HR sounds good. It can take a while to get better but you can still do things. Since April ive done 2 holiday s and managed work I just have a limited social life. I am currently trying to lose weight so when i return to activity im a lean mean machine ( relatively speaking ) and by all accounts a healthy diet helps.

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    • Posted

      Hi William,

      My bottles of bubbles will just need to mature a little while longer and be enjoyed with a few more friends. Ho hum, a small price to pay and will help with the lean, mean machine attainment!

      I had a good chat with HR who have said we can look at reduced hours and days, so that's a big relief. Whilst it of course means a cut in pay, that is being somewhat offset by the lack of socialising / cheeky after work drinks so should be fine.

      Wishing you a great Hogmanay, I'll be on the sparkling Shloer!

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  • Posted

    I had mono symptoms for about a month before I was off of work for two months over the summer because I am a teacher. I did not realize that I had mono until I went back to work in the fall. I felt even worse when I returned to school because I swam/biked/ran/lifted weights daily over the summer. I worked full time in the fall, but completely gave up working out. I would just go home and lie down every day because I was so wiped out. This went on for around 2-2.5 months until I started to regain some energy, which is when I started walking several days a week. I am on month 8 and I run once or twice a week and walk most days, but I am no where near the level of fitness I am used to. I have to accept that overdoing it will not help me recover; in fact, it will slow down my recovery.

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  • Posted

    Hi Glandular Gang,

    I just wanted to post an update since this initial post last month.

    I had a very quiet festive season with no alcohol, no parties but ate lots of yummy, nourishing food and had some quality time catching up with friends in small bursts.

    This was really important to keep my spirits up. Still see friends and family but make sure they are aware they have a one to two hour time limit (manage their expectations) until you will be exhausted and need a break.

    Regarding food, I was lucky enough that the nauseous phase passed after the first two weeks of the acute phase (which began on the 15th November) so have been able to focus on nourishing myself to aid recovery. Of course Christmas had its calories but I'm now being accountable for all I eat as am very aware of the fact I am not really exercising so need to ensure my weight doesn't balloon and then cause further bad feelings if my weight was to balloon.

    I've read that the consumption of sugar can cause adverse effects in RECOVERY (yes, whilst this is a condition we all need to live with and manage, we will all recover and no one has ever died from Glandular Fever / Mononucleosis / Epstein Barr Virus).

    Regarding alcohol, I haven't drank since my acute phase started and don't see myself doing so any time soon. It's not that I drank a lot in the past but being a 36 year old, sociable, single woman in London, it comes with the territory!

    I'm now reconsidering my relationship with booze and whether I really need it in my life. Let's see how that goes.

    Keep well hydrated, add slices of fresh lemon and lime to help with vitamin c intake. I sleep with a large glass of water by my bed and guzzle it down as often as possible.

    I have been off work for over 2 months. I have been lucky that due to long service with my employer I had 9 weeks sick leave at 75% salary and only one week having to rely on statutory sick pay. I also have savings and a supportive family - I was able to live with my parents for 7 weeks who took care of me.

    I can't imagine how hard this would have been for someone with children or a "safety net" of sick leave.

    I am beginning to get out and about; I walked a mile last week with a half way break which by the end was done in and had to almost crawl the last section suffering with terrible thigh / hip pain - anyone else get that??? 4 days later with no attempt at walking I then went for another stroll and managed it! Woo!! I then attempted the original walk exactly a week later and managed it with no pain > PROGRESS. I was advised to push myself to almost my limit every couple of days which truly has helped in terms of exercise.

    Yesterday I managed a 2 hour walk, interspersed with sit stops and coffee stops but it was so good to be out and about in the winter sunshine. Sure I wasn't running the way I might usually be but I managed.

    I will take this next week off work before returning on the 27th January. I will use the week to continue to gently build myself physically and create plans for my role upon my return.

    I will take advantage of a staged return; I usually work 5 days a week from 9-6 so 45 hours.

    I'm hoping to return Mon / Wed / Fri 11-5 to ensure my commute is more relaxing and I get a seat on the tube. I'll do these hours for at least 2 weeks and see how I go.

    I hope all of this information is helpful. I know we all have our own individual journeys with this nasty virus and I wish everyone a calm and gentle recovery. There will be set backs but it's important to accept them, recognise them and manage life to help keep them at bay.

    Manage your new life.


    Factor in rest every day


    Accept help from friends and family

    Invite people to visit you if you are unable to get out

    Have a cup of positivitea every day / always look for the silver lining.

    I'll update again after I go back to work... wish me luck!

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