Stop the Madness: Winter Illness Edition
January 5, 2011 7:20 AM   Subscribe

How can my partner and I keep from getting each other sick over and over again?

I've got a cold that I got from my boyfriend, which he, in turn, got from me. This sucks. How do we keep this from happening while sharing a bed?
posted by ocherdraco to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You'll both develop resistance to that particular strain of the cold after a (fairly short) time, and you'll be right.

If you've got a whole lot of bacterial complications (the green or yellow stuff), you should both go see your GP and get some antibiotics, then take the courses simultaneously.
posted by Ahab at 7:24 AM on January 5, 2011


Is there any benefit to refraining from things like kissing or sleeping together (in both senses) when we're sick?
posted by ocherdraco at 7:25 AM on January 5, 2011


When you're both sick, not much benefit. At least not if you're certain you both have the same thing.

But obviously, when only one of you is ill, follow all the usual rules about coughs and sneezes, hand-washing and not sharing any fluids (or indeed spoons).
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:34 AM on January 5, 2011


IANAD, but I don't think you can catch the same cold twice, at least not as quickly as you're describing here. You should still have antibodies to the virus that made you sick. There are many viruses that can cause colds; as prevalent as colds are this time of year, he may have caught his from you, but equally likely all three infections came about the normal way (community exposure) and just happened to occur in this sequence.
posted by lakeroon at 7:34 AM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


How do we keep this from happening while sharing a bed?

I think that's the key part and problem. The non sick person should be on the couch or guest room, that's how we handle it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:35 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not that I know of. If you have any contact at all during the infectious period of a cold (which IIRC starts before symptoms, and continues during the snuffling, sneezing and coughing stages), you're likely to share it. Even if you had no contact, colds really get around. So you'd probably catch the same one off someone else, off restaurant glassware, or off a handrail on the train.

Just snuggle up together and ride it out. Make it each other hot lemon and honey drinks when you feel up to it.
posted by Ahab at 7:35 AM on January 5, 2011


When either Mrs. Chosemerveilleux or I feel sick one of us sleeps on either the sofa in the den or the one in the living room. It seems to have dramatically reduced "disease tennis" and allows the person who isn't sick to get a good night's rest.
posted by chosemerveilleux at 7:48 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


You can avoid catching colds from your SO if you keep up with handwashing, sleep in another room, don't kiss each other, and possibly mega-load Vitamin C. My boyfriend catches cold much easier than I do, and I frequently avoid catching it from him if I am careful.
posted by cabingirl at 8:10 AM on January 5, 2011


My SO and I share a bed, and kisses, and he managed to resist the flu I had over xmas somehow.

I put it down to a decent immune system. If you make sure you're eating well and getting enough sleep, you'll dramatically reduce the chances of catching colds from anyone, including your SO.
posted by greenish at 8:12 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Before answering the question, I would like to address:

If you've got a whole lot of bacterial complications (the green or yellow stuff), you should both go see your GP and get some antibiotics

Coloured mucus does not mean you have a bacterial infestion. You may still have a viral infection, and antibiotics are useless against viral infestions.

That said, a viral infestion you should both gain immunity to after having the cold run its course. You are either picking up other virus strains from elsewhere, or you actually do have a bacterial infestion. Go to the doctor, get the doc to take a culture and find out what it is, then treat it. Feel better!
posted by kellyblah at 8:22 AM on January 5, 2011


Thinking about it, I've probably had two different bugs—they've had pretty different symptoms. I'll ask my boyfriend which ones he's had.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:27 AM on January 5, 2011


I don't think this "disease tennis" theory makes any sense. Unless one of you has some horrible immunodeficiency, you can't just pass something back and forth indefinitely.

when only one of you is ill, follow all the usual rules about coughs and sneezes, hand-washing and not sharing any fluids (or indeed spoons).

When A passes a disease to B, and then recovers, so that only B is still ill -- then kiss and spoon and etc. all you like; A's already been exposed and should be immune.
posted by foursentences at 9:48 AM on January 5, 2011


wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.

youʻre probably picking up your colds outside the house. wash your hands immediately upon arriving home. wash your hands immediately after you arrive at work sit at your desk. and keep them clean all day long. i donʻt mean obsessively, but did you press the elevator button? hold the pole on the metro? touch the door handle? shake hands? have you touched your face after any of these?

i try to remember to do the above and i havenʻt brought anything home to my work from home partner in ages.
posted by elle.jeezy at 10:18 AM on January 5, 2011


Yeah, your immune system won't be passing things back and forth. You've probably got multiple colds going on there. And you are most contagious before you're fully symptomatic, to quarentine is only going to work to a certain point.

Lots of hand washing and trying not to touch your face, especially your eyes, the inside of your nose and your mouth.
posted by Phalene at 10:49 AM on January 5, 2011


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