We’re all aware that sharing drink bottles isn’t the most hygienic thing to do, but when the situation arises how often do we turn down a dance floor saint offering us a sip?
Besides, germs build immunity, right?
What’s the worst that can happen when newly found friends share a drink?
Well, sharing might be caring but, when it comes to saliva, it pays to be stingy. We mere mortals are susceptible to a range of unpleasant illnesses when swapping swigs.
1. Strep throat
Strep throat, one of the most common contagious conditions, is spread through tiny amounts of saliva. Even the smallest infected drop can cause the bacteria to spread like wildfire. Strep throat causes nasty flu-like symptoms, thanks to a bacteria called streptococci. Think: Burning throat, fever, chills, headaches, lethargy… not exactly what you signed up for when you oh-so-rashly let your friend take a slurp from your bottle.
Usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), mononucleosis (mah-no-noo-klee-oh-sis) is a sneaky virus because it can sometimes display no symptoms at all. The virus, which is also known as the kissing disease, displays flu-like symptoms and at times can result in complications like anaemia, meningitis and swollen tonsils. If your friends don’t appreciate your anti-sharing stance, just drop the word “mononucleosis” – it sounds complicated enough for most to believe there could be dire consequences.
Although uncommon, meningococcal can develop quickly and the consequences can be deadly. The disease is extremely fast-moving, taking the form of blood infection or an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
Children and teenagers are especially at risk, so keep an eye out for symptoms including fever, nausea and the tell-tale meningococcal rash.
Now, we don’t want you converting into a complete germaphobe and swearing off human contact altogether. After all, your saliva contains antibodies and enzymes that are already working hard to keep you safe from many nasty infections.
We’re merely suggesting you can make their job easier by being conscious of the risks involved with swapping saliva.
So, let’s keep it simple: If you would kiss that healthy friend on the lips, then you’re pretty safe to share your drink bottle with them.
Side note: Do not let your family convince you that because you share DNA you can share a drink bottle; nasty germs don’t have any particular code of conduct when it comes to your ‘blood’ relatives.