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Singles Experience More Severe Symptoms From The Common Cold

Update Date: Jun 10, 2017 09:02 AM EDT

Having a cold is a pretty unbearable experience, especially during the summer. But thanks to a new study published in Health Psychology, a team of U.S. researchers have found that your cold could make you feel even worse if you're already lonely.

While loneliness doesn't have a direct impact on your chances of getting a cold, researchers claim that loneliness is linked to feeling more under the weather. Feeling worse, however, was not linked to the size of an individual's social network.

"When it comes to our health it seems that it is the quality of our social relationships that may be more important than just the quantity," said Angie LeRoy, a co-author of the study from Rice University.

LeRoy said she and her team of researchers found this link by surveying 213 healthy adults aged 18 to 55. The survey asked questions related to their social networks, loneliness, and their mood before she and her team infected the participants with the common cold through nasal drops.

The participants were then quarantined in a hotel for five days, and asked to record their symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, or a runny nose - they were asked to rate their symptoms' severity on a five-point scale. In the end, 159 of those surveyed developed a cold.

Don't worry, the participants were paid $1,060 for their miserable experience.

After factoring in age, the season, sex, education, mood makers, and income, the results revealed that those who scored high on loneliness were just as likely to get a cold as the participants who scored low on loneliness. Those who scored higher, however, were found to have symptoms of greater severity.

"Loneliness wasn't associated to how biologically ill they were in terms of the severity of their cold but it was associated with how severe they perceive their symptoms to be," LeRoy told the Guardian.

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