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Health

This Election Is Literally Making Us Sick

Let's just blame your cold on politics.

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This has arguably been one of the most stressful — and, at times, batshit crazy — elections ever.

Twitter: @ParkerMolloy

It's also been one of the hardest to turn away from — both in terms of the subject matter and the sheer ubiquity in social media and pop culture. It's on every channel, every feed, every well-intentioned friend or family member's lips.

This kind of persistent stress can do a number on your immune system.

Twitter: @mtredden

"There's no question stress can affect people's immunity and make them more prone to getting sick," Dr. Patrick Neustatter, author of Managing Your Doctor, told BuzzFeed Health. "And there's no question that quite a lot of people are getting stressed about this election cycle."

Stress influences your hormones, causing you to produce more cortisol, which tends to suppress your immune system, explained Neustatter. Stress also suppresses the production of gamma interferon and T-cells, which help fight off infections. "When they're suppressed by stress, you have less fighting ability," he said.

Not to mention your typical debate-night shenanigans: drinking, stress-eating, and screaming at the TV.

NBC

Alcohol suppresses your immune system and has a negative effect on your liver, which produces proteins that help fight off colds, said Neustatter.

Junk food doesn't do your body any favors, either. So if you're getting through these debates by going heavy on the carbs or candy, you're probably not getting the nutrients and antioxidants to fight off impending germs.

And how's your sleep these days? If you've spent more than a few nights reading the latest scoop (plus at least three hot takes on it), I'm guessing it's not ideal.

CNN / Via washingtonpost.com

This is an obvious one, but sleep is crucial for fighting off colds. Without it, your immune system basically functions like a tired debate moderator who's honestly had enough of this shit.

All of this is to say that the election is making us stressed AF and quite possibly physically ill.

catalogue.wellcomelibrary.org / Via BuzzFeed News

It doesn’t help that this is happening right as temperatures drop in most areas of the country. And colder temperatures allow some viruses to spread more easily, said Neustatter.

So if you're battling a nasty cold these days, go ahead and blame it on the election.

NBC / Via BuzzFeed News

Then go wash your hands, eat some vegetables, drink some tea, get some sleep, and unplug from the endless election drama for a bit.

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