Unfortunately, Valentine's Day and flu season happen to coincide. According to the Center for Disease Control's FluView report, flu activity continues to increase, and is extremely prevalent in 42 of the 50 states, as well as in Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. But this 2018's flu, influenza A-H3N2, isn't messing around. So far, 53 kids have died from the flu this year, but not only is that number continuing to grow, even people in the prime of their life have died from it. Since this flu isn't messing around, if you or your partner has the flu, it's important to be smart about it. Like all viruses, the flu doesn't discriminate.
Which brings me to Valentine's Day. If either you or your partner have the flu, but you still want to celebrate, exactly how are you supposed to do that? Well, for starters, you don't want to leave the house. "The problem with going out, especially to public settings, is the risk of infecting other people," Founder and Chief Medical Officer of besafemeds, Dr. Segun Ishmael, tells Bustle. "You don’t want people to get ill because of you. You can infect others one day before the symptoms start and up to seven days after the symptoms have started."
What does this mean? Basically, you're both staying home for Valentine's Day. But no worries; here are five ideas so you can at least celebrate in your own way.
1A Sex Marathon — With No Kissing
Although the likelihood of wanting to have sex when one of you has the flu probably isn't very high, if you do get the urge, then sex is OK. As long as you don't kiss each other. After all, sex is great for boosting your immune system.
"With the sniffles, a runny nose, cough and fatigue you may not feel up to it, but you can have sex," says Dr. Ishmael. "The goal is to avoid contact with the secretions — so avoid kissing and any exchange of oral secretions... The classic missionary is the highest risk of flu transmission."
2A Cuddly Movie Marathon
If you're really not feeling the urge to have sex, then cuddling up to watch a movie marathon is great option — as long as you keep your faces away from each other.
"Less face-to-face time the better," says Dr. Ishmael. "Avoid situations where coughing may occur into each other’s face." Common sense may tell us it's rude to cough in anyone's face, but sometimes, once that hacking starts, it's hard to stop. If that happens, turn your head the other way, please!
3Consider An Oral Sex Sesh
Even if one of you is sick and dealing with some sniffles, you can still engage in oral sex. In fact, this might be the ideal time to explore oral sex in ways that you haven't before.
"The furthest away from each other’s face the better," says Dr. Ishmael. "Oral sex is one of the safest — flu is not transmitted in genital fluids or through the genitals."
4Order In For Dinner
Since you're not going outside to infect everyone with whom you come in contact and there's nothing worse than cooking a gourmet meal when you're not feeling so hot, Dr. Ishmael suggests ordering in, including soup in your order, "preferably chicken soup," he says. But, if you're going to your order, divvy it up on your own plates first. In addition to no kissing, you don't want to be sharing saliva on utensils or on cups either.
5Give Mutual Masturbation A Try
"If you are both feeling kinky and up to it throw in mutual masturbation," says Dr. Ishmael.
I mean, why the hell not? If you don't have the energy to have sex, but still want to feel close to your partner on Valentine's Day, mutual masturbation is a fantastic way to do that. And, if you've never done it before, it's an exciting way to spice up your sex life — even if the flu is wrecking havoc on your body. Orgasms are your friends when it comes to alleviating pain.
What If You Both Have The Flu?
The good news is it's not likely you'll pass it back and forth — but it's a good idea to lay low and stay home so you don't infect others you come into contact with. "Once you get the flu, especially from each other, you develop antibodies to that/those strains of the virus," says Dr. Ishmael. "The problem is that viruses can mutate, and you can get re-infected from the new mutated version of the virus. So, the simple answer for the [a couple with no immune issues], is the couple will develop antibodies and not likely to continue to pass it back and forth."
Basically, if you want to celebrate Valentine's Day, consider Dr. Ishmael's input on the matter. But, most importantly, don't go out in public. If need be, you can celebrate Valentine's Day a week later and, of course, there's always next year. There's no sense in infecting others or making yourself even more sick for Valentine's Day, of all holidays.