Kissing disease and infections: find out how to prevent and take care of yourself during Carnival

Kissing disease and infections: find out how to prevent and take care of yourself during Carnival


It is important to be well-informed about prevention methods, to enjoy the party without worries.

Carnival is coming and, along with the joy and relaxation, it is crucial to remember the importance of taking care of your health, especially when it comes to preventing diseases whose transmission tends to be more common at this time of year.

One of the best known is the so-called Kissing Disease (infectious mononucleosis), but Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) also deserve attention, given the high risk that some pose to human health. In both cases, it is important to be well informed about prevention methods, to enjoy the party without worries.

Caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, mononucleosis is transmitted through saliva (hence the name Kissing Disease) or contaminated utensils. The World Health Organization estimates that the Epstein-Barr virus is present in 90% of adults worldwide.

In its Guide to Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, the Ministry of Health states that the condition is cosmopolitan (typical of urban centers) and that the general population is susceptible to infection.

” Symptoms of Kissing Disease can vary, but typically include fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, and severe fatigue. In some cases, an enlarged spleen may occur, making it more important to seek medical attention.”

says infectious disease specialist and medical consultant at Sabin Diagnóstico e Saúde, Marcelo Cordeiro.

According to him, it is necessary to take mononucleosis prevention seriously, as an asymptomatic person with the virus can transmit the disease up to a year after infection. “The main guidelines are to avoid sharing personal items, such as glasses and cutlery, to practice good hygiene, which includes washing your hands correctly, and, finally, to be transparent with your partner. It is important to talk about your health history, ensuring that both are aware of each other”, advises the doctor.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis for mononucleosis is generally carried out through blood tests, which detect changes suggestive of the disease or the presence of antibodies specific to the Epstein-Barr virus. “In the blood count, the presence of a large number of atypical lymphocytes, especially after the second week of infection, is suggestive of infectious mononucleosis”, says Marcelo Cordeiro.

Confirmation of the disease can be done with serological tests, which can detect the presence of antibodies against EBV (IgM and IgG). In specific cases, the existence of EBV can be confirmed through tests using molecular biology techniques.

“There is no specific treatment for the disease, but analgesics, antipyretics and anti-inflammatories may be indicated to alleviate symptoms. The main guideline is that the patient always seeks professional help, from a doctor. It is also important to avoid physical exercise, rest, hydrate well and eat light foods”,

advises the specialist.


In addition to Kissing Disease, other infections that deserve attention during Carnival are those transmitted sexually. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), there are at least one million cases of curable STIs every day. These include: chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis and syphilis.

Some infections still have no cure, but there is treatment that can alleviate possible effects and allow the patient to live a normal life. The best known is that transmitted by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV – in English), which causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, also in its acronym in English.

In addition to this, Herpes and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can be mentioned. “For which there are still no vaccines, the main prevention tip is the use of a condom, whether internal or external, during sexual intercourse. Likewise, it is important to get tested for STIs before partying, as this can not only enable timely treatment, but also prevent the spread of the infection”, advises the doctor.

*With information from consultancy

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