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How To Hug Loved Ones Safely During This Pandemic

How To Hug Loved Ones Safely During This Pandemic

Cuddling beloved ones is not recommended to avoid the risk of contamination with the covid-19. But this is still possible by following these tips. At a time when this pandemic has passed the seven million mark, people around the world are wondering about a return to normal life, and for good reason, although many countries have started a process of deconfinement, measures of social distancing are still in force, as well as so-called barriers to protect their health and that of their loved ones. Physical contact is now more restricted, limiting the hugs and expressions of affection that we readily displayed before the pandemic. To find a way to keep some gestures of tenderness, our colleagues from the New York Times called in experts. Here are their recommendations for cuddling.

How To Hug Loved Ones Safely During This Pandemic

Faced with the consequences of a pandemic for which no one was prepared, many of us were forced to limit or change the nature of our interactions with loved ones. And the reasons which justify these precautions abound. The most important being the risk of transmission of the Sars-CoV-2 virus through droplets during sneezing, coughing or speaking. For this purpose, it has been recommended since its appearance to maintain a distance of at least one meter with other people, to prevent possible transmission of the virus in the event of infection.

Hugs: an impact on well-being
However, although these measures prove essential, their psychological impact remains real. Indeed, and as our American colleagues emphasize, marks of physical affection reduce stress by acting on the sympathetic nervous system. Studies have even shown that just holding hands with a loved one reduces the pain experienced during an electric shock.

Interviewed by the New York times, Johannes Eichstaedt, professor of psychology at Stanford University explains it this way: “Human beings have brain pathways specifically dedicated to detecting affectionate touch. This is why our biological systems communicate to let people know that we are safe, that we are loved and that we are not alone. ”

The paradox then seems obvious. Cuddling loved ones is a necessity, but at a time when the pandemic persists, how can this be achieved without endangering one's health?

Precautions to take
To find an answer to this question, the daily interviewed many experts, including Linsey Marr, aerosol specialist at Virginia Tech. Based on mathematical models from a study in Hong Kong, the study found that the risk of exposure during a very short hug is "surprisingly low". And she justifies this argument by pointing out that despite estimates, we don't know the exact dose required to be infected with the new covid-19.

Dr. Julia Marcus, epidemiologist specializing in infectious diseases and assistant professor at Harvard University, notes that the challenge is daunting and that it is important to provide alternatives to the population as the pandemic persists. "There is a real challenge for seniors who worry that they will not be able to touch or be in contact with their families for the rest of their lives," said Dr. Marcus. "Ensuring that the hugs are brief is particularly important because the risk of transmission increases as the contact continues," says the specialist.

In view of the vagueness that still remains on the subject, the most prudent therefore remains to avoid hugs. But if a person is in a situation where he really needs it, certain precautionary measures are essential. Among them: wearing a mask, avoid touching the other with his face or mask, abstain if the person coughs or has symptoms, give preference to hugs outside and above all, make sure that the hug is brief. In addition, it is essential not to speak or cough while hugging a loved one. Once the hug is finished, it is advisable to move away very quickly to re-establish a safe distance between the two people and avoid breathing in front of the other's face, in addition to going to wash your hands immediately.

Certain positions are also to be avoided or favored to minimize risks. The New York Times reviews them based on the advice of the experts interviewed:

1. Avoid hugs by standing face to face

Avoid hugs by standing face to face

2. Avoid sticking the cheeks in the same direction

Avoid sticking the cheeks in the same direction

3. Turn your head in opposite directions

Turn your head in opposite directions

4. Allow children to hug at the knees or waist

Allow children to hug at the knees or waist

5. Kissing grandchildren in the back of the head

Kissing grandchildren in the back of the head