(Photo credit: Scientific American)
With spring only four weeks away, many of us are already counting the days to warmer weather. Just a week ago, residents of Northeastern states were ready to welcome the spring season with arms wide open after experiencing several days of unseasonably warm weather. With one or more days of temperatures reaching 70 or more degrees, who could blame anyone for desiring an end to winter. Residents, however, realized that old man winter was not quite ready to call it quits, as cooler temperatures quickly returned.
With cold weather lingering, people are being encouraged to continue practicing the precautionary steps (e.g., washing hands, covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze, staying home to recover) to avoid a cold or avoid spreading it. One precautionary step that people may not consider is a hug. Yes! A hug. Counterintuitive, right? And it is not difficult to think about a hug this way when we consider how a cold can spread.
An article published in Scientific America, in 2015, reported a study that showed that a hug can help guard against the common cold. Does this mean that people should suddenly start hugging everyone around them and sing Kum ba yah? Not exactly. What the article helps us to understand is the importance of having a strong immune system and engaging in behaviors that minimize stress. It underscores that a practice as simple as giving and receiving a hug (among people who are close with one another) can help to strengthen the immune system, thereby preparing the body to be better prepared to fight off a cold.
Interested in learning more about the health-promoting benefits of a hug, click on the link below:
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