Forget flu shots, vitamin C and hand sanitizer. There's a new way to prevent getting sick: Stop being lonely.
We've known loneliness is a source of mental stress for some time now, but according to new research, it's harmful to your immune system too.
A study conducted by Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State University College of Medicine found that lonely people experience more reactivation of dormant viruses and are more likely to produce inflammatory compounds when stressed in comparison to those in connected relationships. This includes heart disease and other chronic disorders. Yikes.
Sure, treating loneliness problem is more complicated than just getting a boyfriend (although, you can buy a virtual one from this Brazilian website for $40). And, of course you can feel lonely at any love stage, from single to married.
Once researchers can figure out how abandonment results in such poor health, they may be able to develop treatments that prevent loneliness from taking years off our lives.
When you're feeling socially disconnected, don't isolate yourself or be afraid to reach out to loved ones, whether that's your friends or a significant other, for comfort and support.
If nothing else, think of it as flu prevention.
How do you overcome loneliness?
More from YourTango: