It’s summertime, and we all know what’s in the air. As we step together into the warmer and brighter months, seasonal infections abound. In order to control their spread, it’s useful to be aware of common warning signs and symptoms. Today we will spotlight one common disease.
Love is a highly contagious illness. It is ubiquitous throughout human populations. Its flagship symptom is strange and irrational behavior. However, it can cause a variety of symptoms, including but not limited to lightheadedness, rapid heart beat, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal irritation (or “butterflies”), and excessive sweating. Complications of this infection can be serious and include embarrassing confessions, compromised independence, blindness toward others’ weaknesses, and myocardial infarction (commonly known as “heartbreak”). Like many infections, it is best treated when diagnosed at an early stage.
Most experts believe that love spreads mainly by physical contact. However, evidence exists that it may be spread through air droplets and can thus strike its victim simply by being in the presence of its spreader. Evidence of this phenomenon is highly anecdotal, but common. For instance, you may have heard of “love at first sight.” Less often but increasingly concerning in this day and age, a person might also catch feelings through social networks. Some may introduce a victim to an infected friend or brother. Sometimes victims even purposefully seek out infection, using such tools as websites (see: match.com, eharmony.com).
One reason that love is so highly contagious (and dangerous) is that you may be able to pass on love to someone else without you even knowing it. Some healthy adults may be able to infect several people at once. Others may be infected by several sources or strains at once, causing confusion, indecision, and/or the always awkward love triangle.
Love is a particularly dangerous infection. There is no vaccine and contracting it once does not prevent you from contracting it again. In fact, most people will become infected many times throughout their life. Some populations are particularly susceptible, including the sensitive, the soft, and the open-hearted.
This is not to be alarmist. In fact, if you think you might be infected, there are a few key steps you can take to control the effects. First, alert the authorities right away. Ask your friends before sending any risky messages – that is, always practice safe texts. Next, find a community. Make sure to talk to others who have experienced this devastating disease – you may benefit from hearing their lived experience. Finally, if you know who has infected you, make sure to tell them. This can be awkward and emotionally dangerous, but it is the responsible thing to do.
A final note: though the complications of the most virulent strain of love – that is, unrequited love – are devastating, you can survive it. Make sure to eliminate all sources of continued infection (including photos, old letters, and even text messages), and regularly wash your hands of the other person’s feelings. Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids (alcohol is NOT an acceptable treatment, but ice cream is), and take some time before reintroducing love exposure.