That awesome lip locking and tongue tangling activity called kissing is no doubt a very beautiful experience. Kissing has been found to encompass various health benefits like strengthening the immune system, activating dopamine levels that makes one want to lose their minds in happiness, making sure blood pressure stays in check, keeping anxiety at bay and paving the way for some good awesome sex. From kissing, you don’t only gain pleasure but improve your health as well. But there is one more thing you can gain if you don’t do it the right and healthy way, it is called a kissing INFECTION.
HOW DO YOU GET INFECTED FROM KISSING
An infection occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi gain entry into the body and cause damage to body tissues or organs. However, there are some microorganisms referred to as microflora that exist within the mouth that helps protect you from the invasion of infectious agents.
Some of these infectious agents can be introduced into your body through the seemingly harmless act of kissing. These agents of infection can find their way into the body system through the oral route when you lock lips or deep kiss an infected person. When you accidentally or intentionally swallow the saliva of an infected person, the tongue can transport the harmful microorganisms down the back of the throat from where they gain entry into the body, mostly through the respiratory tract.
A LIST OF SOME INFECTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH KISSING
This is known as the infamous “kissing disease” or infectious mononucleosis. The causative agent of the infection, the Epstein-Barr Virus(EPV), can be transmitted through the oral route using the saliva. Other means of transmission is through coughing and sneezing or through the use of contaminated food utensils. It is most prevalent in teenagers and adolescents aged 15 to 20 years old.
Some people contract the infection as children when the symptoms are not conspicuous. It is characterized by fatigue, inflamed lymph glands, fever, headache, sore throat, and in complicated cases, a broken or ruptured spleen, hepatitis, encephalitis, jaundice, and breathing problems. The symptoms of the infection are flu-like and can be mistaken for flu.
There is no known treatment or vaccine to prevent the infection, however, getting enough rest and sleep and keeping your body dehydrated by taking in plenty of fluids can alleviate the symptoms. To relieve pains associated with symptoms of the disease, over the counter drugs like Tylenol can be taken.
These are fluid-filled sores or ulcers that occur on the lips or surrounding areas. It is also known as cold sores or oral Herpes. The infection is caused by the virus, Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1) Which is quite identical to the virus that is responsible for genital herpes(HSV-2). The infection can be passed from one infected person to another healthy person through direct contact like kissing. It is a recurrent infection and it is characterized by outbreaks that are spaced between.
Outbreaks may later completely cease to occur, but the virus never exits the body. The ulcers are usually very painful and they bleed and emit fluid. With time, the ulcers usually become dry and form a scab that heals and fades away. The infection has no known cure. Medications like Valtrex can be used to quicken the healing of the sores. It is more transmissible when the blisters are oozing blood and fluid.
This viral infection is caused by the Hepatitis B virus. Although the human blood usually harbors the virus and not the saliva, coming into contact with a person that has sores on the lips or mouth can give the virus access into your body.
The infection may be asymptomatic, which means it may not exhibit any symptoms, but on the occasion that it does, symptoms usually include body pains, fatigue, yellow eyes, dark urine, abdominal pain and in severe cases it may cause liver dysfunction and cancer. It can be treated using prescription drugs like remedy, baraclude and Viread. It doesn’t always necessitate treatment. In very chronic and complicated cases, a liver transplant may have to be done. People can prevent the disease by taking the hepatitis B vaccine.
COMMON COLD AND FLU
This viral infection is mostly contracted through nasal or mucosal secretions dispensed in the air known as air droplets, and by direct contact with contaminated objects or surfaces. However, It can gain entry into the body when you kiss an infected person. This is because the causative organisms of the infection are found in the respiratory tract that is closely linked to the mouth.
The organisms can travel down the track of the infected person and enter your own mouth. The probability of developing cold or flu through this mode of transmission is higher when you have poor oral hygiene which renders the microflora in your powerless against the intrusive microorganisms.
A large percentage of people are not aware that they can contract this sexually transmitted infection through kissing. This is because the possibility of this happening is rare. Transmission via kissing only occurs when you french or deep kiss syphilis infected person that has sores due to the infection on their mouth. It is characterized by sores on the genitals and mouth, and in severe cases when the infection is left untreated, it can lead to brain damage and memory deficiency. It can be treated through the use of antibiotics like penicillin.
The inflammation or painful swelling of the gums that is often followed by bleeding is known as gingivitis or gum disease. Maintaining a very poor dental health is the backbone that supports the development of this infection.
The swelling is a result of the accumulation of food debris or particles and bacteria. Kissing an infected person when your own microflora of the mouth are compromised can lead to the development of the infection in your body. Leaving gingivitis untreated can invariably lead to tooth loss due to a more severe condition of gum disease known as periodontitis.
The culprit behind this infection is the bacteria Neisseria meningitis or Streptococcus pneumoniae which is harbored by the nose and throat. Deep kissing can give these harmful organisms easy access into your body through the mouth. It can also be transmitted by an infected person that has no physical symptoms of the infection. Meningitis causes the membranes (meninges) that enclose the spinal cord and the brain to swell up. The infection can be contracted through long term exposure to an infected person. Symptoms include stiffness of the neck, headache, nausea/vomiting episodes, and optical sensitivity to light.
HAND, FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE
As the name implies, the hand, foot, and mouth disease cause blisters or sores on the hands, foot, and mouth after infection occurs. It can be transmitted through feces via the fecal-oral route.
It can also gain entry into the body through air droplets, direct contact with contaminated materials and through kissing (because of the sores in the mouth). The disease is most prevalent in young children but adults can contract it too. The causative viral organism, the Coxsackie virus can remain in the body long after symptoms have cleared up. The symptoms in children usually clear up on their own without any treatment.
KISSING INFECTION PREVENTIVE MEASURES
Nobody wants to go around contracting or passing infections through kissing, hence the need to deploy certain steps to avoid the occurrence of such. Here are some simple things you can do to prevent the contraction and transmission of kissing infections:
- Under no condition should you kiss someone with an open sore
- Make your dental and oral health a priority, by brushing and flossing twice daily
- Sometimes, brushing alone doesn’t determine overall dental health, take it a step further by doing scaling and polishing in a good dental clinic. This will make plague stay far away from your gums and teeth
- When you have an infection that can be transmitted via kissing, avoid the act at all costs until you are positive you are no longer a risk to your partner.
- Make handwashing a regular part of your daily routine to prevent hand to mouth transfer of harmful microbes.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with water after defecating or cleaning a baby’s bum to prevent the appearance of infections like hand, foot, and mouth disease.