When a partner, friend or relative becomes ill we will of course find ourselves feeling sorry for them, looking after them and sympathising with them.
But when they want a hug? They can forget it!
Seeing a partner or housemate unwell is a little bit like seeing into our own future. Chances are that they’re going to spread that illness to us and that we’re going to come down with it shortly after them. Every cough and splutter we wake up to is a reminder that we’re next and that soon it’s going to be us who are hacking our lungs out.
But it needn’t necessarily be that way. If you are vigilant and with your partner’s help, you can avoid catching a cold even when you’re sharing your house with one or more sick people. Here’s what you need to do…
Get Them on Side
The first and most important thing to do is to enlist your housemate or partner’s help. That means explaining them that you really don’t want to get ill, and then convincing them to act responsibly to help you make that dream come true.
There are many things that someone ill can do to help prevent others from suffering from their fate. These things include holding a hand or tissue in front of their mouth when they’re coughing or sneezing, washing their hands regularly, avoiding drinking out of your glasses, and perhaps not kissing quite so much. Let them know that you are sympathetic, but that you can’t take the risk of getting ill right now and so won’t be quite your usual affectionate self.
The next thing to do is to make sure that you keep yourself and your environment as clean as possible. This means washing your hands a lot in particular, but it also means washing the surfaces and doorknobs and using antibacterial spray. When your partner sneezes, even if they hold a tissue in front of their mouth the germs and particles of saliva are still going to get around that and spray the immediate surroundings where they can present a danger for some time. If you then touch that surface or doorknob where the bacteria remains and later touch your face, you can end up infecting yourself.
If you clean your surfaces regularly then you will minimise the number of infected areas, and if you wash your hands often you’ll protect yourself from bacteria you may have picked up previously. Carrying a disinfectant spray for your hands can be a particularly useful strategy.
You also want to try and keep your air as clean as possible. If you have an air conditioning system that also cleans the air, then try using that. If you don’t, then try just open the windows to circulate fresh air into the house rather than letting the same air circulate round and round full of germs.
Boost Your Immune System
You’re not alone in the fight against getting ill. Right beside you is your own immune system which exists entirely to help keep you safe from bugs and colds. If you know it’s going to have its work cut out for it then, you should give it a helping hand by strengthening it every way you can.
One way to do this for example is to make sure you are getting plenty of sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system is one of the first things to be affected and being overtired is a sure-fire way to increase your chances of getting ill. Ensure then that you are constantly getting at least 8 hours and that that is good quality sleep.
Other things that can positively impact your immune system are vitamins and minerals (so eat plenty of fruit and veg) and spending time outside in the sun. On the other hand, stress and injuries can damage your immune system – so try to keep positive and avoid placing unnecessary strain on your body or mind. If you’re really worried, then consider getting a flu shot which can help to give you some protection against the bug. Or you could always go and stay at your parents’ house…