The biggest topic in the world right now is how to stay healthy, but most of the attention is being given to wearing masks, hand washing, and social distancing. While those measures are important, immune health needs to be put in the spotlight as well, and not just during a pandemic or during flu season.
What is the Immune System?
A pathogen is the general term used to describe anything that can cause disease or illness, and it’s the job of the immune system to fight off these pathogens before they are able to make you sick. The immune system has two main parts, the innate portion that we are born with, and the adaptive portion that learns how to fight off infections and diseases through being exposed to them. The innate component includes mechanisms from all over the body like the skin, mucous, stomach acid, sweat, and even tears. These act as a first line of defense before our adaptive response kicks in and sends out specialized white bloods cells to attack and destroy the intruding pathogen. We are able to strengthen our adaptive immune system against many of the worst diseases by using vaccines, which help the immune system teach itself to fight against those pathogens.
Vaccinations for Covid-19 could take awhile to develop, but the immune system is still capable of fighting off the virus without one, which is why a healthy immune system is more important than ever. If your immune response stops you from contracting the virus, you are less likely spread it to other people, which means that you help out your community just by helping yourself. Many cases of Coronavirus have been mild with some patients not experiencing any symptoms at all, and though it’s likely that many factors contribute to a milder case, it’s very possible that a stronger immune system could be one of the reasons that these cases don’t become more severe. Not only will a stronger immune system help prevent one from catching disease, it also will help that person recover more quickly if they do end up getting sick.
Being immunocompromised is when the immune system is weakened or unable to work properly. Most of the time it is the adaptive component that is affected, but occasionally the innate portion can suffer as well. Immune deficiencies have a number of causes and can even be present from birth. AIDS, cancer, chronic diseases like diabetes, certain injuries, and organ complications are common reasons why someone might be immune deficient, but some medications and treatments, like chemotherapy, can be responsible.
Boosting the Immune System
Obviously, times like these can be scary for anyone with a weakened immune system, but there are many ways that we can give our immune systems an extra boost. Not so surprisingly, the best way to help out our immune systems is to have a healthy and active lifestyle. Getting enough sleep, avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking and alcohol, being at a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and fruit are all important to keeping our immune systems healthy. Of course, this isn’t easy for everyone and sometimes even people with healthy lifestyles need a little extra help. Taking vitamins and supplements to make sure that your body is getting what it needs can help bridge the gap to a stronger immune system.
Nobody likes getting sick, and if you find that you are getting sick often, it is probably time to give your immune system a little more love. With the pandemic going on, there has never been a better time to make sure that your body can fight hard for you when it needs to. Ways2well wants to make that as easy as possible, with treatments and supplements available so you can spend less time being sick and more time enjoying your life.