Why We Should Avoid Hugging Each Other Amid Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the world in less than a year. It greatly affected how people interact since physical distancing plays a very important role in the fight against the contagious disease. 

Keeping a gap between you and another person can provide protection to both of you. Its effects even expand to those who you regularly spend time or live with because one time exposure can lead to multiple infections. 

But to many people, it is important to show affection, especially amid the growing stress brought by COVID-19. This is where hugs could play a role since it has long been used to express support or to make people feel connected.

However, the simple act may do more harm than good during the spread of COVID-19. As people reduce the distance between each other, the risk of contracting or transmitting the coronavirus increases. 

How To Hug During Coronavirus Pandemic

Giving a hug is moving closer to infection. The novel coronavirus spreads mainly through exposure to droplets released by an infected person when coughing, sneezing or even simply talking. 

But hugs may not always lead to infection. There are factors that could make people more likely to get the virus during close contact. 

“You hug, you get the virus — it’s not that simple,” Todd Ellerin, director of infectious diseases and vice chairman of the department of medicine at South Shore Hospital in Massachusetts, said in an article posted on Harvard Health Publishing. “It’s where you are and how close you’ll be standing. It’s what you’ll be doing before and after. The hug is not an isolated event.” 

Those who are involved, the place and space during and after a hug play a role in the risk of COVID-19, according to Ellerin, who is also an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. Observing these factors may help determine when it is safe to get closer.

He suggested that people consider their own health and the others involved first. It is better not to hug people with weaker immune systems, such as those with cancer, obesity and heart disease, and those over 60 years old since they have the highest risk of catching COVID-19.

Hugging outside may also help avoid the coronavirus. During a hug, do not remove your mask and look in opposite directions to avoid breathing or coughing or sneezing on each other.

Ellerin suggested that people avoid talking and kissing and to immediately move back to the six-foot zone after the hug to lower the risk. Wash your hands afterwards for lower risk of catching COVID-19. 

Social distancing and COVID-19 Health experts recommend that people avoid giving a hug as it could increase the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Pixabay

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