Hug the Flu Away

by James Hixon, M.D.

Yes, it’s flu season, but a good hug can be just what the doctor ordered. A published study suggests that, in addition to making us feel connected with others, hugs may have prevented you from getting sick. You might think hugging would increase your exposure to germs and therefore your likelihood of getting sick. But research out of Carnegie Mellon shows that feeling connected to others, especially through physical touch like hugging, protects you from stress-induced sickness. The study indicates the more often people hugged, the less likely they were to get sick. We knew hugging had psychological benefits, but now we know social support and hugging also help prevent illness.

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