With the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, many people are concerned about staying healthy and maintaining a healthy immune system. Doing so can benefit your body and boost your defenses against viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.
How does your immune system work, anyway?
Think of your immune system as your body’s gatekeeper. It serves as protection against any foreign substances (say, like bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi) that may enter your body and cause harm.
Here’s how it works: Your immune system is a vast network of organs, proteins, and cells—like your skin, bone marrow, blood, and mucosal tissue—that join forces to distinguish healthy cells from not-so-healthy ones. How? When a germ makes its way into your body, your immune system receives signals that something isn’t quite right. From there, it responds by sending white blood cells (or immune cells)—your body’s frontline defense—to attack and destroy anything that it interprets as risky or dangerous.
Here are some important ways to boost your immunity......
To Stress or Not to Stress?
Chronic stress depresses the immune system and increases the risk of several types of illnesses. It raises the level of hormones called catecholamines. Being stressed out leads to increased levels of suppressor T cells, which suppress the immune system. When this branch of the immune system is impaired, you are more susceptible to viral illnesses including respiratory conditions like colds, flu, and infections. Stress leads to the release of histamine, a molecule involved in allergies. Combat stress with strategies like deep breathing, meditation, exercise, and relaxation.
Pets and Immune System Function
Dog owners may enjoy improved heart health in part because they are more likely to engage in physical activity because they walk their dogs regularly. Pet ownership in childhood is linked to decreased susceptibility to allergies.