BY ELIZABETH HANES, BSN, RN
Kissing. If you’re quarantining with your sweetie, there’s a lot more opportunity for it these days – but with COVID numbers rising, you may be wondering: Can I get COVID-19 from kissing (or even more intimate activity)?
The virus that causes COVID-19 travels in saliva, so, sure, swapping spit with an infected person could transfer the virus to you.
So, it’s probably a good idea not to go around kissing strangers right now.
But, if you’re kissing someone you live with, who is not showing any symptoms of illness, the risk is probably low, especially if you’re quite sure that neither of you has been exposed to the virus.
The coronavirus is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, but the close, sustained contact of sexual activity makes it possible for the virus to move from one person to another. The virus is contained in saliva and in the invisible droplets of air a person exhales. When you’re kissing or having sex, then you’re at risk of getting the virus from directly contacting the other person’s saliva or inhaling the virus they’re exhaling with each breath.
But that’s assuming you’re kissing or having sex with someone who’s infected. If you and your live-in partner practice good COVID-19 hygiene by wearing face masks when you go out in public, maintaining social distancing of at least six feet from other people, and washing your hands frequently, then it’s safe to assume neither of you is infected – as long as neither of you is showing symptoms.
On the other hand, if you or your partner does show signs of illness, such as fever, chills, or coughing, then that person should self-isolate, and you should not kiss or have sex. This is true whether your partner is ill from COVID-19, influenza, or any other communicable disease. Nobody wants to pass an illness along to their sweetheart!