Not For The Purell-Obsessed

Why do some people get the flu while others get through the entire winter without ever needing a Kleenex? General health, genetics, and environment influence immunity but what else is involved? According to researchers at Carnegie Mellon, mood and emotional style play a role too.

In one experiment I am grateful not to have been a part of, the researchers infected participants with the rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold. They were then placed in quarantine and closely observed for the next five days. Researchers monitored symptoms including cough, sore throat along with a battery of blood tests and other measurements. Tissues were weighed to assess mucus production.

Results showed that those who reported more positive emotions were less likely to catch a cold. Even when they did, they didn’t report feeling as bad as the “Debbie Downers.” As the lead researcher said:

We need to take more seriously the possibility that positive emotional style is a major player in disease risk.

Related studies reveal that people who are stressed out are more susceptible to the common cold and other diseases. Perhaps one of the best strategies to boost your immune system is to do something that puts you in a good mood.

I wish you all the best,

Dr. Samantha Boardman