How to Boost Your Immune System When Sick
Posted: Sep 18th, 2018 at 11:41AM
Many of us speak of our immune systems, but few know how they operate. According to Vaccines.gov, "The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body from harmful germs." When germs get into your body, they multiply and eventually cause an infection, and in turn, the infection causes a disease. Your immune system works to stop these germs from ever causing diseases. What happens if you do get sick, though? How can you aid your immune system in helping you heal faster? Here are four pieces of advice on how to boost your immune system when you're feeling under the weather so you can start feeling better sooner.
Get Your Beauty Sleep
According to the Mayo Clinic, a lack of sleep can indeed affect your immune system. Not only can insufficient sleep make you more susceptible to getting sick after being exposed to a virus, but it can also make it harder for you to recover if you do get sick. Here's why.
When you sleep, your immune system release cytokines, which are supposed to increase when you're sick. When you don't sleep enough, you might not produce enough cytokines, meaning it will be harder for your body to fight disease.
Sleep is always important and even more crucial when you're not feeling 100%. Rest should be a priority.
Maintain Some Physical Activity, Within Reason
You already know exercise is important for your health, and sure enough, it's important in allowing your immune system to properly do its job, as well. Research shows exercise decreases your chances of catching certain illnesses.
Once you do get sick, the story changes slightly, although physical activity might very well still be in your favor. If your symptoms are above the neck — a runny nose, sore throat, congestion — it's safe to engage in light to moderate exercise. Think yoga or a brisk walk.
However, if they are below the neck, if you have a fever, if you're unusually fatigued, or if you're experiencing widespread muscle aches, take a few days off from the gym to rest and recover.
This is the best for you and your immune system.
It's common knowledge you should enjoy alcohol in moderation, but do you know the role it plays when you're sick and relying even more on your immune system to pick up the pace? Research has repeatedly shown alcohol consumption can not only make you more susceptible to diseases like pneumonia, but it can also make your recovery from infection slower and even less complete.
This is because alcohol interrupts the immune pathways in your body and impairs its ability to effectively fight infection. It also slows tissue healing.
Mind Your Nutrition
Incorporating certain foods into your diet could possibly help your immune system better fight disease. Yogurt, for instance, carries good bacteria called probiotics that can strengthen your immune system by upping your body's white blood cell count. Cooking with turmeric could also be a smart move. Its color is due to a polyphenol known as curcumin, which can help fight the common cold as well as the flu.
Garlic is yet another must-have. It has long been known to help fight illnesses and boost the immune system thanks to its sulfur-containing compounds.
Another way to keep your immune system in tip-top shape? Make sure you stay up-to-date on all your vaccines. Vaccines prepare your body to fight diseases without even needing to expose your body to any of the specific symptoms. Thanks to vaccinations, we've seen a widespread decrease in many illnesses, like polio. Immunizations are also crucial during flu season.
If you're not sure which vaccines you've received, contact e7 Health today about getting a titer blood test. We can help keep you and those around you safe.
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