I have heard people say that it is harming our immune system to keep a distance from home and society. The argument is that our immune system weakens if we don’t come into contact with a lot of germs. This means that we’ll get colds and influenza and even the new Covid 19 disease once we all start coming home more and more. Is that true?
We’ve heard the theory, and we can assure you that your immune system is not functioning this way. A lot of people have heard of the “hypothetical concept of hygiene” – the notion that there is a greater exemption for people who are exposed to a number of germs (ie germs) in childhood. In fact, there is evidence that young children are less likely to develop allergies and autoimmune disorders such as hay fever, asthma, or inflammatory bowel disease if they are exposed to a range of germs quickly. However, you’ve been exposed to bacteria and viruses for several years as long as you are an adult. You have built a powerful immune system that is able to adapt to these germs. Your immune system “remembers” viral and bacterial markers, and your body starts producing antibodies to kill the invader as soon as one of these markers emerges.
Of note, the COVID-2 SARS virus, COVID-19, is a new virus. Prior to its initial emergence in humans at the end of 2019, no person was at risk of contracting the virus or having the potential to establish immunity against this specific pathogen. But even though your immune system won’t have a special memory” of the virus, it will improve the immune response if you have an infection – because that’s how your immune system functions. An immune response is caused by contact with germs, but it does little to improve the immune system. And this current round of interaction with fewer germs doesn’t do anything to weaken the immune response you can mount in the future as needed.
But this does not mean that the immune system would be unaffected by social distance. Your immune system can be impaired by the psychological implications of social isolation. Loneliness and depression are the culprits. Research shows that our antiviral response is blocked when we are feeling lonely. A study of 148 separate surveys of more than 300,000 individuals showed that in a given time span, the most socially linked individuals were 50 percent less likely to die. An experiment also found that many individuals with social links do not suffer from the common cold.
Like the hormones involved in the stress response, stress has similar side effects on immune function: cortisol, which increases the production of sugar, and epinephrine and norepinephrine, which increase the heart rate and increase blood pressure. Does – does interact with immune cell activity.
For all of us, epidemics have created all kinds of stresses, including the pressure to isolate ourselves socially for a long time. So, keep the people who care for you in touch. Call, video chat, post social media images and updates or find other ways to communicate. And strive to find ways for the tension to be handled. There are some helpful tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And Group Advice ness1717—253-column (2256) provides a guide, a three-minute relaxation recording at MIT Medical, and can be downloaded to practice intelligence and relaxation for yourself.
Other strategies for maintaining a healthy immune system include eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep, in addition to staying connected and controlling stress. Community Valence at MIT Medical offers resources – from information to virtual classes and free downloads – to help with health and these areas of your life. Although it is unlikely that for a long long time you will experience a cold, it will expose you to more germs and prepare this old immune system for these difficulties. You can find a lot of things, which you can do. In our lives, epidemics have changed many things, but there are still plenty of fruits and vegetables, deep breaths, good friends, and good night’s sleep on the road to good health.
The possible link between social exclusion and exclusion has started to be examined by researchers. You may think your immune system will not be weakened by reducing your exposure to environmental germs, but you can avoid contracting code 19 (and other germs). And with strong exceptions, you should maintain this period of social isolation if you engage in activities to boost and strengthen your immune system.