Finally your time for vacation is here, your bags are packed and you’re ready to go. Then you feel a tickle in your throat and soon enough you know you have a cold coming. Does this sound familiar?
“The main point is that you can get more sick over time with a lot of stress,” says Mats Lekander, Professor in Health Psychology at Stockholm University and the Karolinska Institute. “There’s a lot of support for that theory. You get a cold much easier, and the cold is usually a more powerful one.” Danish scientists also say stress is a probable reason for the cold-during-vacation phenomenon.
“I say that stress is good, unless it’s too much,” says Jan Pravsgaard Christensen, Professor at the Institute for International Health at Copenhagen University to It may have to do with stress hormones making the immune system work harder and when the stress finally peters off, we suddenly notice the virus we have in our bodies. Says Lekander: “When you are busy with other things, such as work, then we are less aware what goes on in our bodies. So when we are off and about to enjoy ourselves, we notice more clearly that we aren’t in good shape.” It may also be because the immune system becomes weaker when we stress during a longer period of time. Then the risk is greater for a virus to break out and make us sick. “It’s disturbing that when we are finally off from work then we get sick. Most people probably feel that’s a worse time to get sick than at work,” Lekander concludes.