Where I am from it is a common belief that staying at home leads to shorter recovery times from common infections (such as cold). Is that a valid belief?

I know there are other reasons why it may be advisable no to go out (contagiousness) or work (poorer performance) - but I would like to ask only about health benefits (or lack of them) for the ill individual.

Internet search was surprisingly unhelpful.

1 Answer 1


Quarantine (self or imposed) does help prevent the spread of infectious diseases. This is sufficient to recommend convalescence at home, but there is no good evidence for a shorter recovery period for those who stay at home. The idea that resting at home helps conserve energy and recover from illness is pervasive and seems sensible, but has little data supporting it. Clinical recommendations here don't have a strong evidence base, but we can look at other related questions and make a judgment call. On one end of the spectrum, complete bed rest has been shown to be harmful in critical care contexts, and though still widely prescribed in a few contexts is generally not effective in those contexts. On the other end of the spectrum, poor sleep and psychosocial stress may increase susceptibility to infection or impair the immune response. With a self limited contagious disease, I usually recommend staying at home to prevent the spread of disease, specifically not staying in bed all day, but instead, getting a regular amount of sleep, with light exercise as tolerated (for otherwise active individuals) and other relaxing activities.

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