Confusion about contagion… kissing!

Posted by dispatchpat @dispatchpat, May 10 9:10am

So my question is, how can MAC simultaneously be non-contagious and something we have to take incredible precautions against in sterilizing our equipment? I understand that MAC is potentially everywhere but is it in everyone? Does that mean romantic liaisons could potentially be a source of contamination? Don’t laugh! Because don’t we all want to Live! until we die?!

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@dispatchpat I'm not laughing! I had the same concern when I was diagnosed. My pulmonologist's nurse explained it like this:

"MAC is a very slow growing bacteria, keep in mind it takes weeks to grow enough in the lab to see that it is there. A normal lung (i.e. no bronchiectasis or CF) easily expels any bacteria that comes its way, so healthy people aren't "carriers" who can infect us. Of more concern is to avoid kissing and close contact with someone who has a contagious respiratory infection because you are more susceptible with your damaged lungs."

Sterilizing equipment is a different issue – if you are using it to inhale solutions deeply into your lungs, you are potentially moving germs from dirty equipment directly into your lungs. Not just MAC or NTM, but whatever "bugs" are living on it. For example, I had a friend with COPD who did not know about regularly cleaning his CPAP – every few months he got pneumonia. One time, after a hospital stay, I was visiting while he nebbed. As he finished he began to put it away. When I asked him and his wife how often he cleaned and disinfected it, they looked at me in amazement and said they rinsed it before he used it. Turns out all of his equipment was issued by the VA, by mail, with no human instruction on use or maintenance, and they didn't know any better (this was pre-Covid). I showed them how to clean & sterilize his neb and CPAP – no pneumonia for more than a year!

So romantic liaisons can continue with a healthy partner. It works for me.


Thank you Sue!
So, as far as being responsible to others, I guess there really should be a brief quarry as to the other persons general lung health… hmmm I’ve got to think about that one. Lots to think about! Thank you!

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