Glandular fever is a viral infection, most commonly seen in
late adolescence and early adult life. But it can also occur in
children in the upper end of this age group.
Signs and symptoms of glandular fever
There are two distinct forms of glandular fever, both with
similar symptoms In one form the illness is acute, but
short-lived, while in the other the initial symptoms are less
severe, but the disease drags on for several weeks.
1 The acute onset type will start with a very sore throat and
a fever which is characteristically lower in the mornings,
but rises as the day goes on. Glands all over the body,
noticeably in the neck, armpits and groins. will become
enlarged. In slightly less than a quarter of children with
glandular fever there is also a rash over the chest and back;
this occurs within the first week of the illness. In addition,
the child will feel very unwell. The symptoms persist for a
couple of weeks, but convalescence and recovery following
this time is usually quick and complete.
2 With the less acute onset of the illness, again there will be
a sore throat and enlargement of the lymphatic glands. But
the throat will not be so extremely sore, and the fever will
not be so high. The casualty will not feel so ill, but he will
continue to feel vaguely unwell for several weeks, become
readily tired on any extra exertion, and may feel depressed
and irritable for several weeks.
Treatment for glandular fever
There is no specific treatment for glandular fever. Initially
a few days rest in bed are advisable. Plenty of fluids, a
nourishing, light diet that is easy to swallow, and plenty of
loving attention is all that can be done. Return to school
will depend on how the young patient is feeling. Probably
this should be in gradual stages: half days for a week or so,
with extra work to be done quietly at home is a good idea if
fatigue is a problem. Complications rarely occur following
While glandular fever is not a serious disease, it can
greatly disrupt school work and, being more common in
the middle to late teenage years, exams - or preparation
for exams - can be upset. Fortunately. glandular fever is
not very infective, so epidemics of the condition are rare.