I mean that more literally than figuratively, of course. I'm on quite a few medications that compromise my immunity, and if there's a bug going around, and I catch it, it can make me sicker than the person who gave it to me. A few years back, I caught the flu from a friend. As a result of that, I got a yeast infection in my esophagus that lasted for several months. I lost fifty pounds, and the doctor worried that I wasn't going to get over it, but luckily, I did.
Because of that experience, I try to avoid people who are sick. My husband Geoff is pretty hypervigilant about it. He actually yells at people to stay away from me. I try to tell him to calm down, and he yells at me. He usually says something like, "I'm not going to lose my wife because some careless person wants to hug you." So I just shrug and leave him to his yelling. I think it helps him have control over something where he has very little.
I bring this up because my brother in law, Ron has come into town from Virginia to stay in L.A. for a month. He's taking some air force class or another, and he wanted to visit. It was great. We walked up to the beach for a bit and then we went out to dinner. After that, Ron and Geoff and the kids went out for ice cream, but I walked home because I was tired. Sometime during the evening Ron asked me if he could borrow my Chapstick and I said no because I don't share personal items with people because of the germs. I felt bad at the time because I felt like I had a germ phobia. But then after they came back from ice cream, Ron tells me that he's on the tail end of bronchitis. Geoff says that Ron told him this at ice cream, and he's already yelled at him. I was actually surprised that Geoff let Ron back into the apartment after ice cream!
After Ron told me about his bronchitis, I said, "I'm so happy I didn't loan you my Chapstick!"
With lupus, you really have to be careful with friends and family. They are the ones who will give you a bug before anyone else. I think it's because of the comfort level. It kind of slips their mind that you are immune compromised, and they just don't think about it. Luckily, I have Geoff to think about it for everyone in my life.