Have a cold? Well, you might want to fire up your most recent group text. It turns out that feeling lonely makes colds worse, and you obviously want to get back on your feet ASAP. (Without infecting anyone else, of course!)
The study was done by Health Psychology, who were trying to figure out if loneliness was linked to overall poor physical health. In their study, they had 213 participants who identified as being in good health complete the Short Loneliness Scale. The scale — you guessed it — helps in measuring loneliness. Questions included things like, “In general, how often do you feel left out?”
From there, they were given drops that made them slightly ill (for science!) and quarantined for roughly five days. While they could talk to each other, they had to maintain a distance of at least 3 feet at all times.
As it turns out, feeling lonely increased symptoms in many of their test subjects.
Many of the test subjects were recruited with a little help from the Carnegie Mellon University’s Common Cold Project, a research database that started up back in 2011. Obviously they were quite interested in what the study would find.
If you still feel a little sorry for them (since they were infected and isolated) have no fear — participants who were studied were reportedly reimbursed $1,060. Not bad.
Those participants also had a few important things in common. For one, they were all between 18 and 55 years of age, and they were all unmarried.
Makes sense, since if you live every day with a partner, so much more would change under solitary quarantine!
So, all in all, while colds are the absolute worst, perhaps reaching out and chatting with a buddy will help make you feel a little bit better. It definitely can’t make you feel worse, that’s for sure. The social distraction will make you realize that like with all things in life, this cold shall pass.