The next time a friend or coworkers asks, “Are you feeling okay?” you may want to thank them rather than being offended. A recent study has found evidence that we may be able to detect illness in others through very subtle facial cues before before more obvious symptoms such a coughing, sneezing, or a stuffy nose occur. A fascinating article by The Washington Post takes a look at the findings of this research study to help explain how changes in skin color and the state of our eyes and mouth can all provide signs to the people around us that we are ill.
According to the article, researchers hope that by taking advantage of these instinctual skills — and potentially improving on them — it may be possible for us to improve public health by avoiding the spread of infection. Researchers also plan to study whether the ability to identify illness this way is even more accurate among medical professionals. Findings potentially could apply to telemedicine exams as well.