What is Kissing Disease? Its Sign & Symptom, diagnosis and Treatment?

It is an infectious disease caused by a virus called the EBV- Epstein Barr Virus and it is not a serious illness but it can lead to complication in some cases in the later stages.

Medically it is also known as Mononucleosis.

It is most commonly seen in the age group of 15 -25 years but anyone can be infected.

The virus spreads through Saliva (fluids of the mouth) that’s why it is called “Kissing Disease”

Once a person gets infected with the Epstein Barr Virus, it is believed that the virus remains inside the body of the person throughout life, but it usually does not cause any disease further.

Causes

It is mainly caused by the Epstein Barr Virus.

And can also be caused by

  • Rhinovirus
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hepatitis B virus.
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How does it Spread

The virus is found in blood, urine, tears, and saliva.
It spreads through body fluids and most commonly through Saliva that’s why people can get it from kissing it to an infected person.

It can also be spread from sharing drinks, foods, cigarettes, toothbrush, and straws.

It can spread from sneezing, coughing and sharing utensils

It can also be spread from blood transfer, organ transplantation, and from sexual contact with infected person.

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Sign and Symptoms

Sign and symptoms of kissing disease vary with age groups:-

In Children

In children, sign and symptoms are similar to flu.

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle Pain
  • Cough
  • Running Nose
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

In Adolescents and Young Adults

  • Abdominal pain and muscle pain in the body which may last for months.
  • Fever (in between 101-104 degrees) which remains for nearly 15 days.
  • Vomiting
  • A sore throat (pain in the throat) which occur due to swelling in the neck caused by the virus which is very severe for 2-5 days and later the throat pain reduces.
  • Swelling in the back region of the neck, underarm and sometimes throughout the body.
  • Patients with this disease often eat less food, their desire for having food become less.
  • Patients of this disease feel the complete feeling of tiredness.
  • In few infected people, there is the presence of rash over the skin of the underarm region.
  • A headache is also common among adults, and pain in the stomach region along with vomiting, sometimes, all of these symptoms appears for more than two weeks but the feeling of fatigue remains for months.
  • In a few cases, it will take more than six months to get rid of the symptoms of the disease

In Older People

The disease mainly affects younger people, in older people, they are infected very rarely and if infected following characteristic sign and symptoms are seen:-

  • Fever from a long time
  • Fatigue
  • Body pain
  • There is an increase in the size of the liver in older people and develops Jaundice
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Diagnosis

  • Patient’s age:- people in the age group of 10-30 years are at high risk.
  • Physical examination:- Presence of swelling in the neck and back side of the body above  the hip region is one of the signs of the disease
  • Medical History:- Medical history of having close contact with an infected person is a sign of the kissing disease with the start of fever and swelling in the neck.
  • Serology:- It is a medical Laboratory test in which there is the detection of chemicals inside the human body which only found positive if the person is infected with the virus, the chemicals are igG and igM
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How to Prevent the Disease

There is no as such any Vaccine for this Virus so it is better to follow the followings

  • Since there is a very high frequency of getting infected from the virus, the only thing we can do is to avoid sharing things like glasses, cigarettes, toothbrush, straws, silverware with other people.
  • Wash your hand before eating.
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What Happens if Not Treated Early

If not treated on time it can lead to following more problems

  • Jaundice
  • Hepatitis
  • Blood Disease
  • Tonsillitis ( Swelling in the mouth leading to difficulty in breathing )
  • Hearts Problems
  • Enlargement of one of the important organ of the body that is spleen which leads to very severe pain in the left side of the upper region of the stomach, if such pain occurs then the infected person may need a surgery.
  • It can also affect the human brain if not treated on time.

But few of the above serious complication is seen in only 6% of the population.

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TREATMENT

Since there is particularly no specific treatment available for this disease, treatment mainly includes taking very good care of self, which includes enough sleep, eating healthy foods and to drink a lot of water n and to do regular physical exercises.

But for treating the symptoms particularly he or she needs medications

  • Drugs like Paracetamol and  Ibuprofen can be used to reduce fever and pain, Prednisone can be taken to reduce throat pain, but in some cases, use of Paracetamol can cause a rash over the skin, so in such cases, one should stop using the drug
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WHAT WE CAN DO AT HOME

Write down all the symptoms you are experiencing in the coming days including anything unusual from the normal.

Also note, down time of first start of the sign and symptoms, take notes of the drugs you are taking for curing the symptoms

And make a list of questions regarding the sign and symptoms for the doctor as soon visit your nearby doctor.

Share your all quarries regarding the disease to the doctor on time of the appointment.

Followings should be followed which are very effective:-

  1. Drink a lot of water – fluids help in curing fever and sore throat and prevent dehydration.
  2. Use painkiller drugs:- Drugs like Acetamorphine, Ibuprofen can be used as needed .
  3. Start gargling with salt water for several times a day to treat sore throat, for that mix half spoon salt in glass of water mix it and gargle it for 2 minutes.
  4. Almost all of the sign and symptoms of the kissing disease erase/ relieved within a few weeks, but it may take 2 to 3 months to fell normal completely
  5. Keep in contact with your doctor and ask him when to resume your normal routine.
  6. Don’t be in hurry be patient with your own body as it fights with the infection.
  7. Ask for help from your family and friends as you are recovering from the disease.
  8. Go for a weekly check up and get updated to the doctor

Dr Deepak Kansal is a dentist, who is currently working in Sri Ganganagar. He did his Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Rajasthan University of Health Science.

  1. Great Work👍

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