The history of Valentine’s Day is shrouded in mystery. Saint Valentine's Day, or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is believed to have originated as a Western Christian feast day honoring one or two early saints named Valentinus. Today, it’s a special commemoration of our love for others. We celebrate it in many ways with gifts, date nights or maybe a night in which you do not have to cook or do the dishes. No one is thinking about how to prevent germs from spreading from person to person.
Unfortunately, Valentine's Day falls in the heart of cold and flu season. For many star-crossed lovers who plan to hold hands and kiss their sweetheart, there are two ways this could go: good or bad. It can be difficult to tell if your sweetheart is sick with the flu, a cold or if you’re a teenager, mono (aka the kissing disease). If you didn’t already know, you start shedding viruses before you experience the full effect of any illness.
Many of the viruses can be spread through respiratory secretions from talking and laughing, touching surfaces and of course, through saliva. Since kissing is a big way to show affection, you may be getting more than just a little romance. But all is not lost, you can protect yourself from the cold and flu:
- Wash your hands often (especially after holding hands and definitely before eating)
- Avoid close contact when you or someone you know is sick (and maybe even when you’re not sure)
- Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces
- Get your flu vaccine
In the words of Helen Keller “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” I’m not sure anyone would think a cold or flu virus is beautiful, but they most definitely cannot be seen! If the strategies given above do not work and you happen to get sick, I find when I have a cold, if I can share it with one person I feel immediately better! My parents always taught me that sharing is caring, so my heart is in the right place, isn’t it?
Wishing everyone a happy Valentine’s Day!