11/04/2013 AT 8:10 AM ET
Fans of teen heartthrob and “What About Love” crooner Austin Mahone can breathe a sigh of relief. The pop star is on the mend.
“I feel a lot better,” Mahone, 17, tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I’m still trying to get to 100 percent, but I’m taking it one step at a time.”
“I would say two days before I started feeling a little bump in my throat,” he says. “Every time I swallowed it would be scratchy, it would hurt and I had the chills.” At its worst, “it made my throat hurt so bad, for three days straight I wasn’t even eating solid food.”
Upon his arrival at the hospital, doctors immediately prescribed antibiotics and lots of rest. “The doctor said whenever I do a lot of traveling I don’t get much rest,” says Mahone. “I’m waking up at 3 a.m., then going all day, then not going to sleep until 12. He said I need a lot more rest, and I just need a break.”
On his much-needed hiatus, Mahone spent his time researching for his upcoming tour, which was delayed due to the health scare, though new dates have been confirmed on his website, AustinMahone.com. “I spent most of my time in my room,” he says. “I watched YouTube videos of people I look up to, so next time I do a show, I can do better and be better.”
Now, Mahone is almost back to his normal self.
“I have actually been going to the gym, not as hard as I was, but just trying to slowly get back into it. I was starting to feel like a couch potato,” he says.
Mahone’s first show back will be Dec. 2 at KISS-FM’s Jingle Ball in Dallas. After that, he has dates scheduled through March. He is also releasing a new single called “Banga! Banga!” on Nov. 10 – a song about the “perfect” girl.
“It’s basically me talking about how perfect she is, the way she moves, her personality,” he says. “I’m saying I promise if I make you my girl, we’re gonna have a good time.”
But Mahone made it clear it isn’t about rumored crush Camila Cabello. “I haven’t seen her since I hung out with her at the Arthur Ashe charity event,” he says. “We’re not dating. We’re just friends.”