COVID-19, Family

How To Hug During A Pandemic

Scientists have advice about how to hug during the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the New York Times, “Not only do we miss hugs, we need them. Physical affection reduces stress by calming our sympathetic nervous system, which, during times of worry, releases damaging stress hormones into our bodies.”

The article highlighted safe ways to hug during a viral outbreak, based on the research of Dr. Linsey Marr, an aerosol scientist at Virginia Tech who is a leading expert on airborne disease transmission.

“We don’t know how many infectious viruses it takes to make you sick — probably more than one,” said Dr. Marr. “If you don’t talk or cough while hugging, the risk should be very low.”

She suggested the following precautions:

  1. Wear a mask when you hug,
  2. Hug outdoors.
  3. Don’t touch the other person’s body or clothes with your face or mask.
  4. Don’t hug someone who is coughing, sneezing, or sick.
  5. Point your faces in opposite directions
  6. Don’t talk or cough while you’re hugging.
  7. Try not to cry, since tears and runny noses might mean contact with fluids that contain the virus.
  8. Hug quickly and don’t linger.
  9. Don’t breathe into each other’s faces.
  10. Wash your hands afterwards.

Here are Eleni Kalorkoti‘s illustrations that demonstrate the best forms of pandemic hugging, given Dr. Marr’s advice.

Dr. Marr said that people should make careful choices about whom they hug.

“I would hug close friends, but I would skip more casual hugs,” Dr. Marr said. “I would take the Marie Kondo approach — the hug has to spark joy.”

Missing special moments with your relatives? Take time to connect on a Caribu Video-Call! Download the app and add your family members so you can read, play, and draw together.

You can read the original article in the New York Times.

Tara Parker-Pope, How To Hug During A Pandemic, June 4th, 2020,