It never fails, every time I work more than 9 days in a row I come down with a cold. This latest run was no exception, and the worst part was I didn’t get a day off until day 13. Let me tell you, it was a good time.
It’s been a tough couple of months at work, and it’s been ages since I had a real vacation. This has not gone unnoticed, so the most common thing I heard last week from coworkers/friends/family/everyone was something along the lines of “I’m not surprised you got sick, you’ve been so stressed out!”. Naturally, I started to wonder how much validity there was to this statement, what the mechanism was, and how big the effect size might be, because that’s how I deal with things. I wondered if stress in and of itself was a factor, or if it was really the unhealthy behaviors that came with stress. Luckily for me, some researchers out of Carnegie Mellon were all ready with my answer in their paper Psychological Stress and Susceptibility to the Common Cold. It’s a pretty good paper, so I sketchnoted it while still sick which is why I accidentally misspelled “susceptibility” in the title and gave my sick man 4 arms. Ah well.
So overall, some good proof that the presence of stress can actually increase your cold risk. My coworkers were right, and I’m taking some Nyquil and going to bed. Goodnight everyone