Mid-February 'worst time to kiss'
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Be careful when you kiss your partner on Valentine's Day because mid-February is usually the peak season for infectious diseases, such as the seasonal and H1N1 flu, mononucleosis, colds and coughs, a Loyola specialist has warned.
Even if there is on obvious signs of illness - such as sneezing or fever, it doesn't mean you are safe.
People with infectious diseases start shedding the virus before they experience the full effect of the illness, said Jorge Parada, MD, medical director, infectious disease at Loyola University Health System.
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.
Dr. 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.
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," said Parada.
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," stated Parada.