How can stress affect the chances of getting coronavirus? What researchers have found about increased levels of stress and COVID-19 infection and chronic disease
Anxiety about the disease, anxiety about tomorrow, anxiety about the course of our finances due to a pandemic, social isolation, and the unpredictable nature of the virus are just some of the factors that sent anxiety disorders, chronic disease soaring during a pandemic. This accumulated stress, in addition to the fact that it often takes place without us being able to control it, also increases the chances of getting affected by Chronic stress.
But how does stress make us sick?
Psychologist Sheldon Cohen and his colleagues conducted a number of studies in which healthy individuals were exposed to a higher respiratory virus through droplets placed directly in their noses. Participants were then quarantined at a hotel and closely monitored to see who would get sick and who would not.
chronic disease was one of the most important factors in predicting who would eventually become ill and who would not. Participants who were plagued by stressors for six months to two years were almost three times more likely to be infected with an infectious agent than those without anxiety.
This phenomenon is caused by certain stressors, common to many of us today, such as unemployment and ongoing unfavorable relationships with family or friends. However, similar studies do not take into account the fact that when a virus enters the nose, it is not a given that it will infect the body, as only one-third of the participants are resistant to viruses that lead to serious illness, including cold viruses, flu, even coronaviruses.
In a recent article, Dr. Cohen explained that while coronaviruses have not been studied as much as colds and flu, there is reason to believe that some of the same protective factors are important for the severity of the infection, such as feeling socially connected and getting enough sleep, but studies All these years have shown that factors such as lower stress and higher levels of positive emotions are also key to protecting against disease.
The role of inflammation
Inflammation plays an important role in stress, as when it is long-term, the balance of hormones is disturbed, increasing inflammation resulting in a negative impact on our health in general. In the case of the coronavirus, it activates inflammation in a similar way to chronic stress and leads to the “cytokine storm”.
Another reason to take stress seriously is the effectiveness of the vaccine as the more extensive the exposure to stress, loneliness, but also to restless sleep, the more negatively the immune response to the vaccine is affected.