Hugs protect from colds and infections

Hugs protect from colds and infections

Could hugs protect from colds and infections?

Hugs are a great way to show love because they create a bonding experience and can heal our emotions.

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University found that hugs may lower stress-related risk of illness.

Lead author Sheldon Cohen, of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon believes that hugs provide social support, which may strengthen the immune system.

Cohen notes that previous research has shown that people who were continuously in conflict with others had a lower chance of fighting colds.

We tested whether perceptions of social support are equally effective in protecting us from stress-induced susceptibility to infection and also whether receiving hugs might partially account for those feelings of support and themselves protect a person against infection,” Cohen said.

Research shows hugs protect from colds and infections

The research team surveyed 404 healthy adults to determine their level of social support. Some participants also talked on the phone to researchers, where they discussed hugs they had received and conflicts they had been in.

Then, they were exposed to the cold virus and placed in quarantine while the research team observed them for infections.

The team found that those who received more social support had a lower risk of infection, and hugs were responsible for about one-third of these benefits.

They also noted that those were infected had less severe symptoms when they received hugs and social support more often.

The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy. Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection,” Cohen explained.

The study was published in the journal Psychological Science.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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1. “Hugs Help Protect Against Stress and Infection, Say Carnegie Mellon Researchers.” Carnegie Mellon University. Carnegie Mellon University, 17 Dec. 2014. Web. 31 Dec. 2014.
2. “Hugs Help Protect Against Colds by Boosting Social Support.” Psychological Science. Association for Psychological Science, 17 Dec. 2014. Web. 31 Dec. 2014.
3. “Could a Hug a Day Keep Infection at Bay?Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 21 Dec. 2014. Web. 31 Dec. 2014.

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