Kissing and coronavirus spread

Monday March 30 2020


By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

Can I get Covid-19 through kissing? Barenzi

Dear Barenzi,
Kissing happens when one puts his/her lips in contact with another person’s body part with the commonest kissing in Uganda being mouth to mouth.

Covid-19 is present in the mouth. Therefore, kissing can risk one the infection not only from exchange of saliva but also close proximity which is likely to transfer tiny water droplets containing the virus (droplet infection) to the healthy kisser. The tiny droplets can be expelled when a person coughs, sneezes, laughs, sings or talks and reach another person’s mouth, nose or eyes, hence infecting them.

The tiny droplets can reach kissers who will not be at a distance of about six feet or more (social distancing) during kissing.
Additionally, the virus can spread by touching surfaces, objects or the body of an infected person where the virus is present and then touching one’s nose, mouth or eyes. Touching commonly happens automatically between kissing lovers also risking transmission. Kissing of the backs of hands as a greeting or respect may also risk transmission and should be avoided.

All kissing couples just like any other person require to have maximum personal and general hygiene by washing hands often, not touching their face, disinfecting all surfaces that are touched often by others or themselves, avoiding kissing unnecessarily, social distancing including crowd control and coughing or sneezing into the elbows.

If one has symptoms including cough, difficulty breathing, fever, chest pain and sore throat among others, they should not only avoid kissing but report to their doctor or call the help lines given by the Ministry of Health for help.


What is better at preventing coronavirus? Fruits or supplements with Vitamin C? Shalita

Dear Shalita,
Vitamin C has been tried in many viral conditions including common colds and HIV infection with some varying subjective successes.

When one has to choose between natural and artificial food nutrition, fruits are better than food supplements but as a matter of treatment for various conditions where they are helpful, supplements may give a better dose that may have been prescribed.

It may be difficult to know how much nutrition may be contained in a given fruit apart from estimating how much of the required nutritional ingredient that will be absorbed to be utilised by the body.

Coronavirus just like any flu like symptom causing viruses, requires a good immune system which among others is built on consistently taking a balanced diet which includes fruits.

It is, therefore, important for Ugandans to constantly have fruits on their menu starting from infancy.
Anyhow one can still consume fruits and take Vitamin C as well because it is never too late to build up immunity including using Vitamin C whatever its source.

Recently a person died in Kanungu and doctor’s reports indicated he had jiggers that led to tetanus. Is this possible? Enos

Dear Enos,
Tetanus or lockjaw is due to an infection caused by tetanus bacteria found in diverse places including soil, saliva, dust and manure. The bacteria enter the body through dirty cuts or openings on the skin.
People who get jiggers are mostly dirty and when the jigger fleas burrow into the skin, they create an area vulnerable to many infections including tetanus bacteria. Also the use of unsterilised equipment to remove the jiggers can risk tetanus.

Jiggers themselves do not cause tetanus but make it easy for the sufferer to get infected by tetanus bacteria.

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