Between Valentine kissing and mononucleosis

Yinka Badejo

I remember the day I had my first kiss. It was a lot different from what I had anticipated because there was little or no emotion expressed, as my partner and I did not know how to kiss. However, I have also experienced the beautiful feeling that comes with being on the other side of a woman’s lips.

 But the deep feeling it brings stopped almost permanently later when a neighbour caught me kissing a girl in our neighbourhood. There I was thinking I was being safe by not having sex, but just having a kiss. Her reaction, however, proved me wrong.

It is from this conversation that I became aware of mononucleosis, popularly known as ‘kissing disease’.

According to experts, mononucleosis is an infection commonly caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).The virus mostly infects children and other young people. In young adults, the disease often results in fever, sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, and tiredness.

On Tuesday, I also got across to some students in the tertiary institutions.

When asked, through a telephone interview, if he was aware of any kissing disease, a 400 level Accounting student at Babcock University, Ofondu Boaz, said, “I know of a kissing disease called Glandular fever which is spread through saliva and infection from one being to another.”

 Asked about his kissing experience, he said he had kissed a couple of girls in his lifetime and had some regrets over them.

“When I was in secondary school, I kissed a girl – ‘name withheld’ – but, developed an infection on my upper lip. I later found out that it was from kissing – according to my dentist.

“There was another time I kissed a girl called Jachi in 200 level. This led to a terrible throat infection which made me miss school for a week”, he added.

A 300 level student of Mass Communication at the University of Lagos, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, denied knowledge of any kissing disease and even spoke of his plans for the Valentine’s Day.

“I have not heard of any kissing disease and do not believe it exists. I plan on taking my girlfriend out on a romantic date and of course exercise caution.”

When quizzed about his kissing experience, he said,

“I cannot remember the amount of girls I have kissed. Although there was this particular girl who,  after we kissed each other, developed serious allergies to certain items and also experienced a sharp pain in her throat.”

Many people believe that, on a Valentine’s Day such as today, a lot of folk cannot resist the urge to engage in romantic escapades. Discerning stakeholders are, as a result, warning that such acts have consequences.

Other diseases that can be contracted through kissing are herpes, cold sores, warts, influenza and tooth decay.

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