How do you and your significant other deal with one of you being/getting the cold or flu?
February 7, 2006 10:53 PM   Subscribe

How do you and your significant other deal with one of you being/getting sick (cold/flu/etc)? Does the sick one make any attempt to avoid getting the other sick? If so, how?
posted by sdis to Human Relations (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If one of us has a messy cold - sneezing, coughing - we try to avoid kissing on the mouth just to cut down on the most obvious route to infection. In general, though, I know that no matter what I do, I'm probably going to come down with it too... so sometimes we're not super vigilant. (The only exception is cold sores. When I have one, all smooching is verboten until that sucker is gone.)
posted by web-goddess at 11:06 PM on February 7, 2006

My wife and I know that there is no practical way to avoid passing along the germs/virii, so we are just extra lovey-dovey - cos you need that when you're sick!

My way to look at it is that once you get a cold or virus, you are likely to be immune from that particular one going forward. What doesn't kill ya, and all that. Since you are likely to get sick anyway, might as well show lots of affection (kisses and hugs) and be helpful and clean up tissues and such. Who wants to be treated like they have the plague when they, well... have the plague?
posted by qwip at 11:11 PM on February 7, 2006

She usually says, "I don't want to get you sick!" and I say, "I don't care," and kiss her.

I usually say, "But I'm sick!" and she kisses me anyway.
posted by dsword at 11:16 PM on February 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

seems to be consensus on the green! All of the above plus remember that by the time the sneezing, coughing etc., starts you've probably already been exposed so there's very little you can do. Other illnesses, like tummy bugs, just the usual hygiene. I would be freaked if my SO distanced himself just when I needed him most and I know I could not let him be ill without trying something, no matter how useless to the course of the illness, cool cloths, favorite soup etc., I believe personally that touch is very important to healing.
posted by Wilder at 11:23 PM on February 7, 2006

Ditto. Part of the great thing about committed togetherness is the sharing of each and every germ.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:52 PM on February 7, 2006

To really try to avoid, the healthy person sleeps on the couch, while the sick person drinks PLENTY of water and washs their hands a lot. It seems to help, but that might be more due to the massive amounts of water we ingest to "get over it". The sick one does get back rubs though.

Any sort of cold/flu that lasts a couple of days or more, you're both getting sick.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:30 AM on February 8, 2006

My boyfriend and I seem to have wildly differing immune systems - if he has something, I will always catch it, but I can have a cold for a week and he'll be fine. Very annoying.
posted by Lotto at 1:18 AM on February 8, 2006

If the illness has a raised temperature aspect, then generally it's kiss on the forehead until it's gone. Unless the other has already had it, then it's the normal routine. If there is some sort of restlessness or coughing involved, generally the non-sick person sleeps in another room. Coughing is especially the case, as I can't sleep worth a darn if she's coughing all the time, and if my throat gets dry, I snore super loud, so she leaves.

I suppose what really makes us avoid the germs is the work aspect. She works at a place where there are not many employees and calling in sick is rough on the workplace. I work at a place with alot of people, but I'm still needed, and my job provides the bulk of the household income. So it's easier all around to just avoid the germs for a couple days.

And, it's not that hard to baby the other while still avoiding direct bodily fluid exchange.
posted by Phynix at 1:28 AM on February 8, 2006

I vehemently hate getting sick now that I have a small child to care for. When my husband is sick I usually avoid kissing him on the mouth, and drinking from his cup/eating with his fork. I eat a very healthy diet and wash my hands often. My husband sneezes in a tissue or elbow. I almost never get sick. So, I don't agree that it is inevitable that you'll pick up every big cold anyway.

I don't think it is as black and white as some people see it. I still hug my husband and make him tea and orange juice. I just do my best to avoid getting sick because it really really sucks being sick when you have a two year old that needs your attention during the day. And frankly, my husband having a cold is not "when he needs me most". I am symphatetic and caring, but it's just a cold!
posted by davar at 2:16 AM on February 8, 2006

We almost always pass it on, but my wife was sick with a nasty cold in December and stayed upstairs mostly for about 10 days, while I stayed downstairs with the baby. My mother-in-law came over often to help out with the baby, and somehow we managed to avoid the virus. Felt guilty about not getting it, though.
posted by planetkyoto at 3:25 AM on February 8, 2006

What pisses me off isn't my partner making me sick. It's the folks that go to work sick (probably encouraged to do so!) and then spread it to everyone at work! I anxiously await the day some company gets sued good for making sick people come to work.

When my partner gets something, we just avoid the mouth kissing. Otherwise, everything else is normal. I don't always get what he brings home. But mostly I do. At least the current malady is a super-nasty sprained ankle (his) and that isn't contagious!
posted by Goofyy at 3:29 AM on February 8, 2006

Less kissing, more hugging.
posted by zanni at 3:53 AM on February 8, 2006

What pisses me off isn't my partner making me sick. It's the folks that go to work sick (probably encouraged to do so!) and then spread it to everyone at work!

I do go to work when sick (hell, it's just a cold) but I don't pass it around. I wash my hands often (at least once an hour) and yes, I turn on the water with disposable napkin, tell people their stuff has been printed out and they need to pick it up rather than pick up the paper and bring it to them, warn everyone not to use my computer and basically avoid any common spaces or close quarters. It works pretty successfully and coworkers appreciate it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:58 AM on February 8, 2006

Unless it's some sort of flu-ish puking wretchedness, we usually act like normal. Anything that comes with a high fever, sometimes one of us sleeps in the other room not so much to avoid disease transmission, but because we sleep like hell with fevers and keeping the other person awake all night seems like a recipe for stress-induced lowered immunity. I've never been much of a handwasher myself and cold times are no different unless we've got company coming or I'm going to work when my partner's sick.
posted by jessamyn at 4:29 AM on February 8, 2006

Apparently I'm the odd one out here. When I'm sick, I generally prefer to be left alone to die in my misery. If it's just a cold, little hugs or a kiss on the forehead is fine, but nothing more than that. If it's flu or a stomach virus, don't touch me.

He's the exact opposite when he's sick, which is rarely. I'm all for being attentive, fetching things, sympathizing with his misery, but I'm not making out with him if he's sick. I don't see any reason to guarantee that I get sick too!
posted by geeky at 5:47 AM on February 8, 2006

My wife and I don't tend to pass things back and forth much, which is probably more luck than anything. My best advice; flush used tissues immediately, both of you should wash hands regularly with soap & water (don't bother with antibacterials), drink lots of water/tea, light exercise when you feel up to it, apply regular TLC.

PS - IANAHP (I am not a health professional).
posted by dunderhead at 6:14 AM on February 8, 2006

We don't really do anything, either. The healthy one takes care of the sick one. We both have pretty rugged immune systems. We rarely get sick and when we do, it's not usually from each other.
posted by lampoil at 6:20 AM on February 8, 2006

My fiance just had a week long bad cold. We still spent time together and slept in the same bed, yet I didn't get so much as a sniffle. What did I do? Zicam and two multivitamins a day...that was it.
posted by UMDirector at 6:20 AM on February 8, 2006

She gets sick --> I pop 3-4 grams Vit C daily.
posted by grateful at 6:59 AM on February 8, 2006

As long as it's just a mild cold or non-vomity fever, no change in the frequency hugs and kisses (TLC is the best cure). If it's really bad, usually a little distance for hygiene purposes, but never a quarantine. Who would make the chicken soup?
posted by Smarson at 8:13 AM on February 8, 2006

Similar to Lotto: I always catch what the mister has but he never catches what I have. Bastard. In any case, we don't try to avoid the other (we live in very small quarters) and snuggling is part of the cure.
posted by deborah at 9:32 AM on February 8, 2006

I have severe chronic neutropenia (can't fight bacteria for shit) and am sick a lot. My husband has the immune system of a god. Our son, fortunately, seems to take after him.

So, when I'm sick, I'm the one to sleep on the couch because it allows me to sleep sitting up which just makes it easier to breathe. If he's sick, I relocate to the guest room. I figure that I'm so used to sleeping elsewhere that it is just easier for me to go than to kick him out of bed. Kissing moves to other body parts than the lips. We rarely, if ever, share utensils or glasses so that's not an issue. I handle my own tissues, wash my hands constantly and become a hermit. If the illness is mild like a simple cold or sinus infection, I may sleep in bed. It just depends on my ability to breathe.

Like geeky, I don't like being cuddled or in much contact with others when I'm sick. I usually ache and just want to be left propped up on the couch. So, there's not much of the "I need him most right now" stuff. When he's sick, I avoid him as much as possible while still trying to be helpful. Sorry, I just don't need another week or month of sleeping on the couch.

I usually will still go into the office to work because I have so many meetings to attend. If I can swing it, I will occassionally work from home. Usually though, that's with the onset of pneumonia or bronchitus. I love that my employer keeps dispensers of anti-bacterial stuff in the restrooms. I use them all the time.

I know my situation's pretty extreme. However, the basic steps many mentioned above do help.
posted by onhazier at 9:36 AM on February 8, 2006

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