An expert has warned lovers to be cautious while kissing on Valentine's Day, as this is "usually the peak season for infectious diseases".
Changing weather or temperatures are often blamed for winter's coughs and sniffles. But in reality, colds, coughs and the flu are infectious diseases "caught" through transmission from one human to another.
"Mid-February is usually the peak season for infectious diseases, such as the seasonal and H1N1 flu, mononucleosis, colds and coughs," Newswise quoted Jorge Parada, medical director, infectious disease at Loyola University Health System as saying.
"And don't rely on obvious signs of illness - such as sneezing or fever as a tip off. People with infectious diseases start shedding the virus before they experience the full effect of the illness.
"Becoming too hot or too cold can cause stress to the body, weaken the defense in fighting off infections and thus make us more vulnerable.
"But a person has to be exposed to a virus or bacteria to catch it,' Parada said.
Parada feels that winter trends such as staying indoors in crowded arenas such as shopping malls or movie theatres may promote winter colds and flu.
According to him, drinking from the same wine glass or sharing dessert with the same fork may seem romantic, but also may lead to infections.
"Someone can have a cold sore that hasn't erupted yet and use lip balm which is then shared, and the cold sore virus - otherwise known as herpes - is transmitted," he said.
Albeit less frequently, shared linens also are transmitters of infections.
"A shared pillowcase, napkin or towel can also actually be a conduit for disease, especially if someone has a sore or cut," Parada said.
He also spelled a list of do's and don'ts for safe displays of affection.
The list includes giving and getting a flu shot, not sharing utensils and not kissing or having close body contact if one feels unwell.
"It's the gift that keeps on giving - you protect yourself, your loved one and you stop the virus from spreading to others.
"If that isn't sexy, and say 'I love you' I don't know what does."
"Humans can transmitsome infections through saliva. A glass, fork or napkin can act as a bridge and pass the bug along to another person when that shared object is used by one infected person and then used by another.
"Throwing up and blowing your nose is not fun; no one wants to be ill so being upfront and honest when you feel under the weather will be appreciated.
"Get that flu shot now to increase your odds for romance on Valentine's Day.
"Having a flu shot is definitely sexy. It beats the flu every time!" he added.
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