How Bad Is It to Kiss Someone When They Have a Cold?

A good smooch is a nice thing with the right someone, but should you still pucker up if they're under the weather?

How Bad Is It to Kiss Someone When They Have a Cold?iStock/shironosov

Having a cold may not be the end of the world, but it sure does feel like that sometimes. Especially when it just hits you, and your body aches, your nose can’t stop running, and the sneezes never end. In that sorry state, a hot cup of tea, a bowl of chicken soup, and a kiss from a loved one would be nice, wouldn’t it?

Still, you wonder if giving your loved one a kiss is a good idea because you could be subjecting him or her to a mouth full of germs, followed by a week of incessant coughing and sneezing.

However, the real risk of passing a germ comes from something even more G-rated than a kiss. “Contrary to what you might think, you’re actually at a higher risk of catching a cold by holding someone’s hand than by kissing them,” says Andy Barnett, MD, of Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care.

According to Dr. Barnett the cold virus is found in the mucus that travels through your respiratory system and is most commonly spread by coughing and sneezing. Though if you are severely ill with a cold, it is a possibility that some germs can stay within your saliva and might be spread by kissing or sharing a glass. The risk also is contingent on the type of kiss you are giving. If it is just a simple dry peck on the cheek, the risk of contracting the virus is very low. However, if you decide to be romantic while you are hopped up on cold medicine and exchange body fluids then there is more of a possibility passing the virus along.

To prevent passing a long a cold, cover your cough, preferably with your elbow. “Your hands and fingers can more easily pass viruses if you cough or sneeze into them,” says Barnett. Find out how to make your cold less miserable.

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