Immune systems are complicated systems that help protect our bodies and shield us from all things harmful. Ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve managed to get ourselves into quite a spin over our own immunity. Instead of panicking, let’s chat about some fun facts about your powerful immune system. They’re stronger and more resilient than you think.
Think of your immune system as your body’s version of the military. It’s designed to defend you against anybody or anything who threatens your chance of survival. It’ll never surrender or let you down. Unless you abandon it. This is all because immune systems have millions of strong warriors who can help make this possible.
When you nourish your immune system you’ll have protection against diseases, infections, viruses and injuries.
Immune Systems Are Strong Warriors
It’s as simple as sneezing or coughing to spread bacteria and viruses. Even when you’re talking to somebody who is sick, it increases your risk of getting their sickness. You can get sick just by touching bacteria-infected surfaces and then touching your face. So it is pertinent to keep up your hygiene discipline, which we should be doing in any case. When you keep yourself clean, you give your immune system a fighting chance. Simply washing your hands for 20-seconds is still one of the best ways to keep yourself healthy and stop the spread of bacteria and viruses.
In fact, the immune system is a complex fighting system powered by five liters of blood and lymph. According to Healthline, Lymph is a clear and colorless liquid that passes through the tissues of the body. Experts explain that these two fluids transport all the elements of the immune system so they can do their jobs.
We’ve Got Knights Inside Our Bodies
Literally, we’re made up of millions of tiny white knights. These are our white blood cells.
They’re just like brave knights heading out into battle every time something tries to plunder their kingdom. They need to protect their king or queen, you. Immune systems have two different types of white blood cells: phagocytes and lymphocytes.
Let’s have a mini biology lesson.
Your B cells are your fighters. They are the antibodies which attack bacteria, viruses, and toxins that enter the body. All immune systems have T cells which kill cells in the body that have been overtaken by viruses or that have become cancerous. Just like T cells, natural killer cells kill infected or cancerous cells. However, instead of producing antibodies, they make a special enzyme, or chemical, that kills the cells.
Basically, immune systems create new antibodies whenever they’re infected with a new antigen. If the same antigen infects you a second time, immune systems can quickly make copies of the corresponding antibody to destroy it. However, these warriors only live up to a few weeks, so it’s a good thing there’s a lot of them. In fact, a single drop of blood can contain up to 25,000 white blood cells. Amazing, right?
Worried About A Fever?
Don’t be. It’s a very healthy sign that you’ve got a fever or are experiencing some sort of inflammation.
Sure, it is very unpleasant and feels horrific. But it’s a sure sign that your immune system is doing its work hard. The reason you contract fever is due to the release of white blood cells. This then increases your metabolism and stops certain organisms from multiplying.
Inflammation happens when each damaged cell releases histamines. Histamines cause the cell walls to dilate. This creates redness, heat, pain, and swelling of inflammation. As a result, your body limits the effects of the irritant.
Immune Systems Need Quality Sleep
There are a variety of reasons why it’s integral to get in your beauty sleep. They call it that for a reason, so don’t start skimping on it guys and girls. If you’re running around like a mad horse, and now you’re starting to feel ‘off.’ Then you might get sick. And no, that’s not as surprising as you might think.
This is when immune systems are taking action. It’s your body’s defence mechanism, working hard and taking ‘revenge’ against your relentless on-the-go mentality. Slow down. Sleep, my child.
Especially if you have been clocking all-nighters or getting less than five hours of sleep per night. Not only will your happiness deplete, but immune systems get depressed too. So, you’re basically opening up the door to all kinds of colds, flu’s, and infections.
Get Some Vitamin D
There’s tons of research proving that our immune systems thrive when they’re exposed to more sunlight and vitamin D. Interestingly, there are even new light therapies available because of the power of light. Getting regular sunlight is great because it shows how your body naturally produces vitamin D. This vitamin helps protect you from a variety of harmful illnesses like depression, heart disease, and certain cancers. It’s even good for people with autoimmune disorders.
Dermatologists recommend that everyone should wear sunscreen with broad-spectrum UVA, UVB protection, and Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher. Generally, it’s also best to avoid the sun between 10 am and 14,00 because that’s when it’s the hottest. When the sun is very strong, you should also wear protective clothing, such as:
- Long-sleeved shirts
- long pants
- Wide-brimmed hats
Seriously, Don’t Panic
Immune systems don’t function at their finest when you’re completely stressed out. In fact, you will only damage yours. It can only handle so much, even though it can tackle most problems. Constant stress releases cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones from the adrenal gland. Combined they help your body cope with stress. Normally, cortisol is helpful because it decreases the inflammation in the body that results from the immune responses caused by stress.
However, if you’re chronically stressed, stress hormones can affect the way our immune systems function over time. This increases your risk of health problems, including:
- Digestive issues
- Heart Disease
- sleep disorders
- weight gain
- problems with memory and concentration
It’s important to find healthy ways to deal with your stress. This will decrease your risk of long-term stress and its related health problems. Some good ways to reduce stress include:
- Talk Therapy
- Art Therapy
- eating healthfully
Laughter Is The Best Medicine
This might sound cliche but there’s honestly so much truth in the remark. Every time you laugh, your brain releases dopamine and other feel-good chemicals which can all help decrease stress.
Experts say that just twenty minutes of laughter a day may not keep the doctor away, but it may help keep your immune system working properly.
Don’t Be Too Clean
It does seem counterintuitive. But you can’t be overly hygienic because your gut needs lots of bacteria to be healthy. Some bacteria can help you digest your food. In fact, most people think that every kind of dirt, germ or bacteria outside your body is bad. This just isn’t the truth. Our immune systems need those germs to stay healthy.
Immune systems can adapt, which is why human beings have been around for so long. Once your body comes in contact with a foreign substance, it attacks it and remembers it. If it comes back, your body knows what to do.
Sneezing A Lot?
Don’t be afraid of allergies. Seasonal allergies or hay fever are perfectly normal. Even if you feel like cursing every molecule of pollen or dust in the air. These microscopic particles cause the release of histamines, which create some of the nasty symptoms of allergies. This just proves how strong our immune systems are!
We don’t all experience allergies, but they’re often caused when your body mistakes something harmless, as a threat. Usually, this happens with pollen or a type of food. Your body launches an immune response against it, causing you to experience allergic symptoms.
Watch Out For Autoimmune Disorders
Unfortunately, this can happen. Certain people have immune systems that start to attack healthy tissue in the body, which causes disease. This is called autoimmunity.
Most people have immune systems that get used to their own tissue before they are born. They do this by turning off the cells that would attack them. Autoimmune disorders occur when the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. This is what occurs in people with autoimmune diseases such as:
- multiple sclerosis
- rheumatoid arthritis
These diseases are treated with drugs that suppress the immune system.
Fuel Your Immune Systems
The bottom line: Work hard to protect your immune system and it will do the same for you.
- Prioritize your sleep, because your body can’t defend itself if you are not resting.
- Maintain personal hygiene. Washing your hands regularly can prevent infections.
- Eat a balanced diet and get plenty of exercise. Eating nutritious food and staying active will help your body fight off infections.
Fruits and vegetables are easy to get our hands on nowadays. Even when it’s not the right time of year for certain ones to grow, there are still stores that will have what you’re looking for. Here is why.
Fun Facts About the Immune System. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/fun-facts#1
The Secrets to Never Getting Sick. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/cold-flu-secrets#1
The Importance of Washing your Hands. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/17474-hand-washing
How to Prepare for the Coronavirus. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/article/prepare-for-coronavirus.html
Healthy Habits to Help Prevent Flu. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm