Q: Ekay from San Jose asks if it is safe to give or receive hugs?
A: Hugs bring many psychological benefits AND can be done with relatively low risk. As you might guess, pandemic precautions still apply. If you plan on dishing out hugs, your SMART toolkit will help maximize the benefits which include happy hormones and stress relief while minimizing infection risk.
SPACE – Hugs violate the 6-ft rule so it is very important to maintain the other risk reduction measures!
MASK – Wear a mask and keep your faces pointing in different directions
AIR – Outside hugs or hugs in large, ventilated spaces are best
RESTRICT – Reserve hugs for a select few. Hugs with other members of your pod or household carry less new infection risk than hugs with multiple people from multiple pods.
TIME – Keep the hugs brief
Young children and adults might consider a hug at the knees or hug from behind instead of face to face to limit breathing on each other.
A secret elbow bump routine can bring joy and new traditions to this touch deprived time.
Those who live alone could consider adding a friend or family member with similar risk tolerance preferences to their pod to enjoy the social benefits of interaction and hugs.
Physical contact can be very calming in moments of fear, pain, or anxiety . Back rubs and feet rubs are additional opportunities for touch that maintain greater distance.
We all need a hug right about now. Spread some love, but do your best not to spread your germs.
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