We all know how dismal the perspective of catching a cold can be – always with a runny nose and feeling like someone beat you over the head with a hammer. If you feel uneasy about the mere idea of getting a cold, then you will be ‘thrilled’ to find out that according to a new study, which was recently published in the Health Psychology journal, people who are lonely experience worse cold-related symptoms compared to those in touch with a social network or those who are in a relationship.
It’s never a good time to have a cold. Just think about it for a second – that feeling that your head is about to explode, having to stack up on tissues, and, of course, the non-existent appetite. And to top it all up, there’s not much you can do but let the cold run its course. And probably the most annoying aspect about nurturing a cold is that you have to go to work or school or university.
Well, according to a recently published study which analyzes the link between mental health and common illnesses, it would appear that individuals who are lonely (no spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, and little to no social interaction) are approximately 40 percent more prone to experience worse cold-related symptoms compared to individuals who are more socially involved or in a relationship.
It might seem like a pretty far-fetched theory, but it would seem that data gathered by the team of researchers confirms it. So, for the purpose of this project, the team of scientists asked approximately 213 healthy US adults to participate in a five-day study.
The participants were split into two groups – a group of people that were isolated from the outside world (confined to a hotel room, with minimum social interaction) and, naturally, the control group. And now comes the truly fun part – all participants were deliberately infected with the common cold virus to see how they experience and handle their symptoms based on how lonely they are.
According to their results, it would appear that approximately 159 out of 213 participants became sick. Subsequently, those who were quarantined in their hotel rooms reported experiencing worse cold-related symptoms. After crunching the numbers, the researchers discovered that lonely and socially-isolated people experience 40 percent worse symptoms than those who have a healthy social life or those who are in a relationship.
Image source: Max Pixel
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