At this stage of the epidemic, some of us really needed a hug. Good old-fashioned bear hugs — the kind that make us feel like everything is going to be all right.
So, how dangerous are hugs during COVID-19?
Some experts say that hugging is not very dangerous if done correctly. But before we discuss safe hugging techniques, understand that you need to think ahead about who you are going to hug and where it will be. The more people you hug, the higher your risk; so limit your hugs to the people closest to you (and only if they follow the COVID safety rules). You should avoid hugging people from high-risk groups because of their age (over 60 years old) or diseases (lung disease, cancer, etc.). Like many other activities, cuddling outdoors is probably less risky than in a confined space.
Once you have planned who and where, you need to follow a good hugging technique to minimize the risk as much as possible:
- To get permission to hug someone
- Wear a mask
- Hold your breath as you approach the other person for a hug
- Turn your head away, hugging for a few seconds
- Keep holding your breath (don’t talk or even whisper)
- Step out of the embrace and immediately step back at least 1.5 meters
- Turn your head away from the other person and exhale
Using this method reduces the risk of one person inhaling the other’s breath, which can include coronavirus particles, even if none of you have COVID-19 symptoms. Keep in mind that the virus can spread if you are asymptomatic (infected but not showing symptoms) or before symptoms (infected but not showing symptoms yet).
If you make sure that your hugs are pre-planned and don’t inhale the other person’s breath while hugging, then hugging is probably a relatively low-risk activity, even during COVID-19