You are a sovereign woman with strong defenses! You do not, I repeat, do not get sick thanks to some basic germ prevention tactics.

Regular hand sanitation! Antioxidant-rich vegetable consumption! Dive bar avoidance! A vitamin C tablet created by a kindergarten teacher! Condoms!

But now the situation has changed, soldier. You’ve shacked up with ultimate germ vector: A human male.

Are you totally fucked? No! With these basic, step-by-step military-grade germ precautions, you will fortify your immune defenses against the walking petri dish in your life!

STEP 1. Determine the threat level.

Congratulations! Your partner has contracted something! He has also devolved from a fully functional adult to a needy man baby! What has he inoculated himself with this time? A passing cough or a full-blown case of mono? Determine the type and threat level of the contagion, soldier. And, remember, no matter the severity of his illness your partner will not, I repeat, will not go to the hospital! Despite your complete lack of medical knowledge, he has designated you as his primary caregiver and will not accept anyone else! Welcome to coupledom, soldier!

STEP 2. Enter rooms with caution.

During the contagion, your partner will lose all sense of propriety and cough openly without covering his mouth. It’s up to you to exhale continuously while passing through rooms in which he has infected the atmosphere. Do not risk compromising your immune defenses by inhaling the air in his immediate vicinity!

STEP 3. Isolate your towels.

Now is not the time to discover that your man has been using your side of the bathroom to trim his beard so he could blame the clogged sink on your oil-based makeup remover. During the contagion, keep all personal hand, face, and body towels quarantined in a secure area. Consider communal items off limits! And do not, I repeat, do not use his deodorant just because it works better than your girly shit. You have no idea how contagious this thing is! Also, replace your toothbrush. Sometimes, he uses it. I don’t know why either!

STEP 4. Fortify your side of the bed.

Sick partners are the ultimate manspreaders. You might believe you’ve laid claim to one side, but your pillows have been tainted and discreetly returned to your side of the bed. Sleep on the couch for the duration of the contagion!

STEP 5. Do not touch the tissues!

They are highly concentrated sources of infection. And they will be everywhere except in designated disposal units. Resist the urge to pick them up! More will simply appear in their place!

And last but not least…

STEP 6. Do not engage in physical contact.

The contagion will render your live-in male partner completely helpless at all times with two notable exceptions. 1) the presence of other people and 2) sexual arousal. In both cases, he will miraculously (but temporarily) make a full recovery! Do not be fooled, soldier. He is still highly contagious! Do not, I repeat, do not have sex during the contagion! You may give him a handjob while wearing a hazmat suit!

You can do this, soldier. I believe in you!

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