Pandemic of fear: coronavirus and stress

“Hype” around coronavirus infection is only “into the hands” of the media: ratings are growing, advertising is becoming more expensive. For ordinary people, the COVID-19 information environment has become a source of anxiety and stress. At that time, stress in itself strongly “undermines” the immune system and reduces resistance to viruses.

A bit of history

Humanity has seen infections in the “pandemic” status many times. And if until the middle of the twentieth century it “mowed” people by the millions, now the numbers are much more “acceptable”. For example, swine flu in 2009 was also recognized as a pandemic, killing 2,600 people. In 2002-2003 – SARS infection affected 8,436 people worldwide and was fatal for 900.

One way or another, infections have always gone and will go “hand in hand” with people, and the appearance of another “new” one is a natural phenomenon, expected and associated with a high mutability of microorganisms.

A little about stress

The COVID-19 pandemic was rumored almost instantly, literally triggering a “pandemic of fear.” Whereas, stress only makes the situation worse.

Stress is normal – a defensive reaction, but designed to quickly solve a problem. Briefly, its essence can be described with the phrase: “Fight or flight.” Adrenaline and cortisol increase blood flow to the heart, muscles and brain to literally “run away” from danger. The pressure rises, heartbeats and breathing become faster. The rest of the organs at the same time “sacrifice” food “for the sake of survival” and try to keep on a minimum blood supply.

Unsurprisingly, with prolonged stress, while initially beneficial, this response is harmful. High blood pressure, exacerbation of chronic diseases, as well as a pronounced decrease in immunity are only a small part of the “side effects” of chronic stress, which clearly do not contribute to protection against the virus.