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Glandular fever

Glandular fever is caused by a virus called the Epstein Barr virus. It's very common, and many young people get it - some without even noticing. You can breathe the virus in, swallow it or catch it from snogging someone who has it. It used to be called 'the kissing disease'.

How do I know if I've got it?

If you've got glandular fever, you'll have a:

  • Sore throat
  • Swollen glands (in your neck, under your arms or round your groin)
  • Feeling of being tired and unwell
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Rash (sometimes)

If you have these for more than 3 days, see your doctor. If you've still got a bit of fever after your sore throat's gone away, and you feel exhausted, call the doctor as well. He or she will do a blood test to see if it's glandular fever, though it doesn't always show up positive immediately. Several other diseases also make you feel like this but only glandular fever shows up in the test.

What happens if I've got it?

It lasts about three weeks. You'll probably just want to sleep for the first week and feel pretty shattered for the next two. In a very small number of people the tiredness goes on for months. The doctor can give you something to take the swelling down, but there's no cure for it. Take paracetamol which will help bring your temperature down, soothe your throat and just ease the crappy feeling a bit. Rarely, glandular fever can affect your liver or spleen and 'contact' sports are best avoided if you have it, but you probably won't want to move a muscle anyway.

Antibiotics will not help with Glandular fever.