Mononucleosis Management Hephzibah GA
Family Practice, Emergency Medicine
Medical School: Med Coll Of Ga Sch Of Med, Augusta Ga 30912
Graduation Year: 1951
By James and Debra Rouse, ND
My doctor just told me I have mono—in my mid-40s, no less—and prescribed antibiotics. I thought mono was a virus and the only cure was rest. Why would I need drugs for this?
You don’t. Antibiotics are of no use in treating mononucleosis (“mono”), a common infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), since antibiotics do not work against viruses. Antibiotics would only be warranted if you had a concurrent or underlying bacterial infection in addition to the mono. Amoxicillin (ampicillin) and Augmentin, two commonly prescribed antibiotics, can actually cause a rash in individuals who have mono. Although mono more frequently affects a younger population, ages 15 to 25 being the group at highest risk, anyone can get it at any age. During the infectious stages of mono, symptoms include fever, sore throat, swollen glands, headache, and fatigue. Usually these symptoms resolve within a month or two; however EBV can remain inactive in the body for a lifetime.
Rest is certainly an important part of the treatment plan. Eating well and drinking plenty of fluids are also essential. In some cases, mono can lead to inflammation of the liver and infect cells of the immune system, so we recommend supporting the liver and the immune system if you have mono. Eating well in this case means keeping it clean and simple. Go easy on dairy products (or cut them out altogether) since dairy tends to increase mucus production and may slow healing. Also eliminate sugary foods, excess starch (cake, bagels, muffins), fried foods, alcohol, and tobacco, as these all tend to have a depressive effect on the liver and the immune system. Focus on broth-based soups, lightly steamed vegetables, brown rice, and lean proteins like chicken, turkey, tempeh, and fish. Eat several small meals throughout the day. Drink a lot of water and herbal tea. Squeeze half a lemon into a mug of hot water, and add a dash or two of cayenne pepper and about 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger. This soothes the throat, acting as an anti-inflammatory.
To protect the liver, our top picks include herbs such as dandelion root and milk thistle (take as tinctures or drink as a tea). Increase your intake of vitamin C to 5 to 8 grams daily. Emergen-C, which provides 1 gram of vitamin C per packet, offers an easy way to add additional fluids. Vitamin A and zinc may also assist in your recovery and help your immune system.
Medicinal mushrooms, including reishi, maitake, and shiitake, contain compounds called polysaccharides that help encourage the immune system to fight infections and viruses. Echinacea and Oregon grape root contain natural antiviral chemicals that can also help ward off the virus. Oregon grape root contains anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating properties as well. These herbs can be dosed at 1/2 teaspoon of tincture twice daily between meals. Astragalus, an herb that combats the fatigue that accompanies mono, also helps increase production of immune glo...
Author: James and Debra Rouse
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