How familiar is this scenario: You’re going through a stressful time at work or at home, then to add insult to injury, you come down with a cold, a cough, or annoying chest congestion that you can’t seem to shake. Is this just the universe punishing you? Or could there be an actual scientific reason stress and colds seem to go hand in hand?
If you went with the rational scientific reason, you’d be right! Emerging research is starting to show a very real connection between stress (specifically chronic stress) and a lowered immune response. Read on for some of the reasons and how you can give your immune system some TLC during cold and flu season.
Stress and Colds: The Connection
Research supported in part by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has finally identified a possible reason chronic stress may open us up to more colds. Two studies were included in the research, and in both studies, participants were knowingly exposed to cold viruses. Participants had their inflammatory responses tracked (our inflammatory responses are our bodies’ natural way of fighting off infections, but they can also cause colds), along with their chronic stress levels. Researchers found that chronic stress can affect the body’s inflammatory response and make it harder to fight off a virus.
Another way that stress can make a cold or cough stick around for far too long? When we’re constantly stressed, we don’t typically take care of ourselves the way we should. It can be hard to stick to a healthy diet or exercise routine or even get adequate sleep when we’re stressed, and all these things can make whatever health issue we’re dealing with worse.
De-Stress and Get Healthy
If you’ve been fighting with stress that just isn’t going away, it’s probably a good idea to check in with a medical professional to figure out what your options are and how you can find some relief! Relaxation methods, cognitive techniques (avoiding negative self-talk, taking control of your schedule), adhering to a healthy lifestyle, and even therapy are all great ways to figure out what’s causing your stress and how to release as much of it as you can.
Take care of your stress with behavioral changes, and take care of your cough or chest congestion with Theraflu Cough Relief, a hot liquid that controls your cough and thins/loosens mucus to relieve chest congestion.