Don't you wish you could prevent all diseases this way? Haha! Researchers in London have discovered that pregnant women can prevent certain birth defects by KISSING....a LOT....during pregnancy!
Here's the story from the UK's Telegraph newspaper:
A romantic gesture or a germ-spreading technique?
Kissing may have developed as a way for a man to help his partner build her immunity to a virus that's dangerous for a pregnant woman, reports London's Daily Telegraph. If the couple kisses for six months, then the virus is passed from the man to the woman and allows her time to build up protection against it, scientists theorize.
That virus, cytomegalovirus, can cause blindness and other defects in a baby born to a mom who contracts it during pregnancy. It's found in saliva and while it's normally not a problem, pregnancy is the exception.
"A pregnant woman can transmit the virus to her unborn baby," explains Dr. Tracy Zivin-Tutela, infectious disease specialist at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital. "Then it causes everything from problems with the developing nervous system to learning disabilities."
Could kissing be the answer? "Female inoculation with a specific male's cytomegalovirus is most efficiently achieved through mouth-to-mouth contact and saliva exchange," University of Leeds researcher Dr. Colin Hendrie wrote in the journal "Medical Hypotheses," as reported in the Daily Telegraph.
With worries about the H1N1 virus widespread, social smooching may be on the wane these days.
Does it make sense to minimize physical contact, not just kissing but hugs or handshakes?
If you are within 6 feet of someone who is actively infectious (coughing, sneezing, fever, runny nose), then you're at increased risk for getting the flu, Zivin-Tutela says. "That goes for the seasonal flu or the H1N1 flu," she explains. "The most important way to protect yourself is not to touch your hands, face and nose."
And that, she says, is good advice even if the people you're around don't appear to be sick. "A person can be very contagious for a day before the full-blown symptoms of the flu develop," she explains.
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