Cold virus more common in stressed males

Men who get stressed at work are more likely to catch common colds and sniffles, new research suggests.

The study, published in the Society of Occupational Medicine’s (SOM) journal Occupational Medicine, surveyed 1,200 manual workers from 40 different companies and found that men who were experiencing stress and who felt that they had a lack of control over their job were 74% more likely to take time off sick with a cold.

Yet there was no similar association among female workers.

Common colds are known to be one of the biggest causes of short bouts of work-related sickness absence in the UK.

The South Korean research team concluded that one of the differences between men and women could be because men were more likely to “overrate” common-cold symptoms, while women tended to be more stoical in their response.

Similarly, people experiencing stress were also more likely to smoke, drink heavily or eat unhealthy foods – all of which could contribute to their susceptibility to catching common-cold bugs.

Dr Olivia Carlton, SOM president, said: “The real issue here is that managers in the workplace need to understand how to identify employees who are experiencing stress and help those who are affected.

“We need to remove the stigma associated with psychological health conditions – they are common and can happen to anyone at anytime in their life. There are solutions and it’s important that staff feel able to seek support,” she added.

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