Getting ready to embrace loads of friends and family over the holidays? The best defense against the flu could be a found in a hug, new research suggests.
Hugs may have some flu-fighting advantages and protect against the illness, according to a study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and published in Psychological Science.
It’s believed that social relations and interactions can prevent stress and even depression, and the researchers wanted to explore if these interactions, such as hugs, could provide a barrier against physiological diseases as well.
Over a two week period, researchers analyzed the social support of around 400 participants each day including asking them if they had received a hug. The participants were also given nasal drops filled with either the cold or flu virus and monitored for their symptoms.
Researchers discovered that of those who had the nasal drops, 78 percent developed an infection and 31 percent became ill. The data also showed that the participants who reported being hugged regularly showed less symptoms of illness than those who were not hugged regularly.
Influenza is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system – your nose, throat and lungs. Common signs and symptoms of the flu include fever over 100 F, aching muscles, chills and sweats, headache, dry cough as nasal congestion.