Our immune system is vital in helping us fight infections caused by bacteria, viruses and other germs. Maintaining our immune system, not only helps us keep healthy but also reduces the risk of us passing on diseases to other people.
These are some of the things that can lower immunity and we should avoid them as much as possible.
As the saying goes, you are what you eat. This is very much true with the immune system as well. A well-balanced diet that includes a good range of nutrients is important for maintaining our immunity. Eating fresh, home-cooked food with vegetables and fruits is always better than ready takeaway foods and junk.
Smoking and alcohol consumption
Although some people may say smoking helps them reduce stress, its harmful effects far outweigh any benefits. Smoking destroys the lungs, predisposes you to get coughs and infections in the lungs. It is also harmful to the cells involved with immunity in the body.
In the same way, excessive alcohol intake affects the function of vital organs in the body like the liver, which increases the risk of developing health problems like liver disease, hypertension which in turn reduces the ability of the body to fight off infections.
Stress could be physical, emotional or mental and it is one of the factors that have a very big negative effect on the immune system. It affects the balance of the hormones and chemicals in the body, thereby reducing the ability of the body to fight infections.
It is difficult sometimes to avoid stress especially when we have no control over the happenings around us, for example when there is a lockdown due to an outbreak and people are unable to earn a living. However, focusing on what we have control over might help us reduce our anxiety. Also, activities such as exercise and meditation could also help.
Adequate sleep in terms of duration and quality is very important in maintaining immunity. Poor sleep increases the stress your immunity cells go through, making them weak and not very functional. Poor sleep also releases chemicals known as stress hormones which affect your immunity adversely.
Good personal hygiene is sometimes overlooked by many people but it is vital in preventing germs from causing infections. One of the most important things we could do is to ensure regular hand washing. See all surfaces as contaminated, so throughout the day, take steps to decontaminate your hands by washing them. When you use the toilet, cough, sneeze or come back from a public place, make sure you wash your hands.