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01.07.2022


Do you want to prevent virus infection? Reduce long-term stress

If you are to believe the numbers, the umpteenth corona wave is approaching. At the same time, the experts are concerned about the monkeypox virus and the coming flu season. If you're under prolonged stress, now might be a great time to get rid of it.


Do you want to prevent virus infection? Reduce long-term stress


Study
In 1998, in Health Psychology, Sheldon Cohen published a human study in which he described his experiments with 276 healthy adults aged 18-55, whom Cohen was sure had no infection at the time.

Cohen gave his subjects nasal drops which contained 2 strains of common cold viruses. He then looked at which subjects became ill and which did not.

Just before Cohen infected the subjects with the virus, he had questioned them about the stress in their lives. As a result, the researcher knew who was under stress and who was not, how long the stress had been going on and what the stress was related to.


Do you want to prevent virus infection? Reduce long-term stress


Results
The more continuous the stress the subjects experienced, the greater the chance that they would become ill. In the figure below, the chance of a cold in people without stress is 1. As you can see, stress that has persisted for more than two years increased the chance of illness by a factor of four.


Do you want to prevent virus infection? Reduce long-term stress


Do you want to prevent virus infection? Reduce long-term stress


In the figure above, the researchers have made a distinction between the various long-term sources of stress. Chronic stress at work and stress in a relationship outweighed 'other chronic stressors'.

Source:
Health Psychol. 1998 May;17(3):214-23.

More:
Avoiding stress is preventing virus infection 27.03.2020
A good night's rest protects against colds 28.03.2013
Happy people catch cold less quickly 22.03.2012

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