Would hugging more often help prevent you from catching the common cold?

Want to avoid getting a cold? How about hugging more often? A recent study finds hugging may do more than make us feel better. It may even protect us against viruses like the common cold. The study was published in the Journal of Psychological Science. It has been documented that factors like stress, anxiety and depression increase the chances of catching a cold. The idea that a hug can also protect you from viruses or protect from illness is something that had not been closely looked at before.

The researchers observed about 400 adults and asked the subjects to complete questionnaires and phone interviews with them for 14 consecutive evenings. The researchers discussed the subject’s conflicts and how many hugs they had during the day. The subjects were then exposed to a cold virus and then put under observation for signs of infections or illnesses. It was revealed that those individuals that had stronger support or social structure had stronger immunity to things like the common cold. The hugs those subjects received also seemed to be responsible for preventing the common cold.

I think most of us can agree that hugging does make us feel better emotionally, and this study shows that it may also help us to stay potentially healthy. When I have a tough day, I always make sure I take the time to hug my daughter or my wife. My experience with hugging is that it is a way for me to decompress from a long day and allow me to feel good at that moment. Stress is a part of our day there is no doubt about that, but finding ways to alleviate that stress is something that we should also be mindful of during a work week. Just a thought.  If you would like to find out more ways to manage your stress you can always call my office for an appointment.

Dr. Shah, MD

 

Sources:

Whiteman, Honor. “Could a hug a day keep infection at bay?.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 21 Dec. 2014. Web.
9 Feb. 2015. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287242.php>