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Kiss and tell your doc to avoid getting mononucleosis aka the kissing disease

Published on:13 February 2020, 13:14pm IST
Did you know that making out with your beloved can give you the kissing disease or mononucleosis. Don’t freak out and hear what an ENT expert has to say on the matter.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Indulge in responsible kissing ladies. GIF courtesy: Giphy

Love is in the air, and where there is love–there has to be chemistry. And when the chemistry kicks in, kissing toh banta hai. But before you get all wet and wild, here’s a heads-up for you: kissing is not as hygienic as you think. In fact, it can give you a disease too–mononucleosis or the kissing disease.

Sorry for spoiling your Kiss Day fervour but for us your health comes first. That’s why we thought to give you an eagle-eye view of this muah-muah disease. And to elaborate on it we got senior ENT expert Dr Sanjay Sachdeva, senior director at Max Super Specialty Hospital, Saket, Delhi on board. 

So, here are five things that you need to know about the kissing disease aka mononucleosis:

1. Mononucleosis is a viral infection and it’s extremely contagious
Although there are a number of viruses in the play when you kiss, the most prominent one is Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) which is transmitted via saliva. Dr Sachdeva says: “It’s really very common and just like any other viral infection it hampers the immunity of the person.”

According to our expert, kissing is the most common way one can get this infection but there are other ways as well. “As this virus travels through water droplets, if someone sneezes or shares food with an infected person they can also catch this infection,” he adds.

kissing disease
Think before you pass that peck. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Don’t commit the mistake of confusing it with tonsillitis
Because the first symptom of mono–as it is also called–is throat pain, there are high chances that you might confuse it with tonsillitis. And wrong medication can worsen the case, suggests Dr Sachdeva.

He says: “Other most common symptoms of the kissing disease are fever, swollen lymph glands, sore muscles, loss of appetite, and neck cramps.”

3. Ignoring mononucleosis can lead to liver disease
No we aren’t kidding! Basically, EBV hits the immune system and disturbs the functioning of the white blood cells–which are responsible for creating antibodies that fight infections. And if you don’t treat it fast, then this virus diversifies and starts impacting other organs. The liver is the most adversely affected organ when it comes to mononucleosis.

“Pneumonia, sepsis, and liver disorder are the other health problems that kissing disease can lead to. Although the chances of having a liver disorder is very low, we can’t deny the possibility,” Dr Sachdeva explains.

4. Don’t self medicate–visit a doctor when you feel the symptoms
If you’re experiencing minor symptoms that are manageable, then there is no hurry to go to a doctor. But if after seven to 10 days you develop red spots in your mouth which are painful then you must see a doctor.

“Although the symptoms of kissing disease are self curing in nature, if they don’t disappear in two weeks time then visiting a doctor is a must, otherwise your liver might have to pay the price,” he stresses.

Also, read: Here are 5 gut-wrenching things that can happen when you self-medicate with antibiotics

kissing disease
Don’t self-medicate as it can worsen your case. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Kissing disease can lead to herpes as well
If you share your lip balm and food with other people then ensure that they aren’t suffering from mono as it can lead to herpes too. Basically, herpes can attack your entire body but the most common areas it targets are genitals and mouth. The common symptoms of oral herpes a–which is also caused by the EBV–are blisters in the mouth, high fever, and fatigue.

“It’s common but unfortunately herpes doesn’t have a cure. Proper treatment for herpes can help in recovery and prevent an outbreak,” he concludes.

Yes, we know it is Kiss Day, but you’ve got to be careful. So make out responsibly girls.

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.