Too much time online could put your immunity in jeopardy, increasing the risk of colds and flu by 30%. That’s according to a recently released research study which was conducted by Swansea and Milan Universities.
The study found that those who spend in excess of four hours a day online for personal use, (over and above work) reported more cold and flu symptoms than those who spend less time online. The study involved 500 men and women between the ages of 18 and 100. In addition, the study also found that those who are addicted to the internet may experience even more stress when being unplugged from the net (obviously), and that this cycle of stress and relief may lead to an increase in cortisol levels.
While its no secret that we (South Africans) love our online platforms so much, we reached out to Mariska van Aswegen, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics in better understand the local footprint.
“According to We are Social – an international social media and marketing agency – South Africans already spend an average of five hours a day online whether they’re on a PC, laptop or tablet and on top of that an additional three hours could be spent surfing the net on their cellphones, which puts their immunity at even greater risk.” says van Aswegen.
“If you’re experiencing a lot of stress – in this case as a result of being disconnected from the web – your cortisol levels remain elevated, which can lead to more regular infections, such as colds and flu, chronic inflammation, allergies and even autoimmune diseases.”
In SA about 11.8 million people are considered to have active social media accounts and of them all South African internet users spend most of their time on WhatsApp, followed by Facebook.
But one way to determine healthy vs unhealthy internet use is by a person’s decision to interact online instead of in person or spending time online instead of dealing with important tasks in life. If you start isolating yourself from friends or family to spend more time online or become defensive about how much time you spend on the net, you might have a problem and need to re-evaluate your screen time.