My Partner's Sick, Should We Sleep in Separate Beds?

Q: Should you sleep in separate beds if one of you is sick?

Oz Says: If possible, yes. "Winter viruses are often spread by hand-to-hand contact," says Keith Roach, M.D., associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. "If you're sharing the bed with someone, it's hard not to touch them." Flu bugs also travel through the air via coughing and sneezing—another reason to split up for the night. You can get back together after the worst of your symptoms has passed; you don't have to wait for your stuffiness or cough to clear entirely.

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Top Ways To Deflect Your Partner's Germs

  • Wash your hands frequently. You know the drill.
  • Keep your hands away from your face. Germs can transfer from your fingers to your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if you have two. The fewer places you share, the better, since viruses and bacteria land everywhere—even on doorknobs, shower curtains, and the pump on liquid soap.
  • Don't share the phone. Or if you do, clean it with a disinfectant wipe first. Keep in mind that germs don't live only on used tissues (but lots of them do hang out there, so the sick person should be the one to throw those away!). Wipe down other shared electronics, like the remote, as well.

This story originally appeared in the December 2014 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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