London: Red alert: When your smoking father comes close to give you a hug or a kiss, push him away and run in the opposite direction.
According to Professor Robert Booy, smokers are prime candidates for carrying the potentially deadly meningococcus bacteria in the back of their throats. They carry more germs like meningococcus, so normal family cuddles and kisses can pass on dangerous germs, even if smokers only smoke outside.
Booy claims the bug can be passed to children through "normal family cuddles and kisses”, and one in 10 children who go on to develop the rare meningococcal disease will die from it, reports The Daily Telegraph.
"Passive smoking isn’t the only smoking risk to children," said Prof Booy, who is director of research at the National Centre for Immunisation and Research at Sydney’s The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
"Smokers carry more germs like meningococcus, so normal family cuddles and kisses can pass on dangerous germs, even if smokers only smoke outside,” he added.
The symptoms of meningococcal disease may include a sudden onset of fever, severe headache, weakness, drowsiness, confusion or coma, sore legs or sore joints, nausea and vomiting, a dislike of bright lights, a stiff neck and a rash of red-purple spots.