When your significant other gets sick, the first thing you probably want to do is buy all the soup and to nurse them back to health. The only problem? If you’re not careful, you might end up in a flu-induced state of misery right alongside them.
Luckily, you don’t have to shun your partner when they’re feeling under the weather in order to protect yourself. If you follow some important, doctor-approved tips, you can take care of your loved one and uphold the epitome of health.
Here are 5 ways to stay healthy while taking care of your sick S.O.
1. Wash your hands 24/7
You were hounded about this as a kid, and it’s still important an adult. Robin Thompson, MD, an internist at ProHealth Care Associates in Huntington, New York, told The New York Times that washing your hands frequently plays a big role in preventing illness. Don’t worry about getting fancy germ-killing soaps, though: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed you’re better off with natural soap and water than you are with antibacterial washes anyway.
2. Sleep in different rooms
It might be tough to snooze separately, but doing so could help you prevent coming down with the flu, too—even if that means no snuggles for a few nights.
“Avoiding close contact is probably helpful, but not a guarantee,” Dr. Thompson said. “Sleeping in the same bed will increase your chances of contracting your spouse’s illness, but often can’t be avoided. You can’t move out of the house.”
3. Become a clean freak
It’s time to bust out your healthy cleaning supplies and disinfect as much of your home as possible. The first stop? Tackling everything that’s frequently touched. According to Dr. Thompson, that means wiping down your counters, fridge handles, and other spots like remote controls, light switches, and faucet handles.
4. Don’t touch those tissues
With sickness comes a whole lot of gross bodily fluids. One key in making sure the bacteria doesn’t spread is making sure the only person who comes into contact with all those dirty tissues is the one who’s already ill, said Susan Rehm, MD, vice chair of the infectious disease department at the Cleveland Clinic.
5. Focus on taking care of yourself
While a lot of your attention is probably on your sick partner, you still have to focus on keeping up your own health, too. According to Dr. Rehm, that means concentrating on the things you can control: eating healthy food, exercising, and getting the proper amount of sleep.
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