Immune System 101

There has been an overwhelming amount of content over the last year about your immune system in the media and news and we wanted to dispel a few myths and educate our patients, and followers about what they can do to strengthen and protect their immune systems and what role R2 Medical Centers can play in their family strategy to stay healthy this fall. As with all of our blog posts if you have any questions use the “contact us”  feature on our site or if you like the information you see, all we ask is that you share it with a friend or family member.

So, let’s start off with a kind of basic question, what is your Immune System?

Your immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that together, help the body fight infections and other diseases.

When germs such as bacteria or viruses invade your body, they attack and multiply. This is called an infection. The infection causes the disease that makes you sick, your immune system protects you from the disease by fighting off the germs.

The immune system has many different parts including:

How does your Immune System work?

Your immune system defends your body against substances it sees as harmful or foreign. These substances are called antigens. They may be germs such as bacteria and viruses. They might be chemicals or toxins. They could also be cells that are damaged from things like cancer or sunburn.

When your immune system recognizes an antigen, it attacks it. This is called an immune response. Part of this response is to make antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that work to attack, weaken, and destroy antigens. Your body also makes other cells to fight the antigen.

Afterward, your immune system remembers the antigen. If it sees the antigen again, it can recognize it. It will quickly send out the right antibodies, so in most cases, you do not get sick. This protection against a certain disease is called immunity.

What is "being sick" or what can go wrong with your immune system?

Sometimes a person may have an immune response even though there is no real threat. This can lead to problems such as allergies, asthma, and autoimmune diseases. If you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake.

Other immune system problems happen when your immune system does not work correctly. These problems include immunodeficiency diseases. If you have an immunodeficiency disease, you get sick more often. Your infections may last longer and can be more serious and harder to treat. They are often described as genetic disorders.

There are other diseases that can affect your immune system. For example, HIV is a virus that harms your immune system by destroying your white blood cells. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). People with AIDS have badly damaged immune systems. They get an increasing number of severe illnesses.

How do I know if my immune system is weakened or not?

How can I boost my immune system?

We know some of these lifestyle changes can be easier said than done but, they can help you in long run live a healthier life. If you need help with any of the above immune system boosters, the medical team at R2 Medical Centers has the tools to help, please don’t hesitate to request your appointment here or give us a call at 219-208-6894

 

Can ____ weaken my immune system? Believe or not we have all seen some crazy things that people have posted online that may or may not compromise or weaken our immune system and here are a few that we would just like to list that don’t, we repeat don’t in most cases weaken our immune systems.

 

Washing your hands regularly and using hand sanitizer is just good personal hygiene. If executed properly both,  can effectively protect your immune system’s first defender in most cases, your skin. Not touching your face, especially around your eyes, nose, and mouth can protect your mucus membranes so that that your lymphatic system and white blood cells will not be impacted by many of the germs that we come in contact with every day.

Wearing standard cloth face masks in these times of an upper respiratory viral pandemic like the one we are currently facing, has the potential of reducing your exposure to other peoples respiratory droplet by as much as 20% to 30% and can protect the people around you by as much as 60% -95%. Please keep in mind masks must be washed in between each use and to be effective should cover your nose and mouth. While masks are effective, they are not 100% foolproof, social distancing is still recommended.

How can R2 Medical Centers help you arm your immune system?

As with all of our blog posts if you have any questions use the “contact us” feature on our site or scheduling feature to see what dysfunctions R2 Medical Centers can help correct to arm your immune system all year round.

 

Sources:

https://blog.bcbsnc.com/2020/06/is-social-distancing-weakening-our-immune-systems/

https://www.sciencealert.com/taking-extra-hygiene-precautions-for-covid-19-isn-t-going-to-weaken-your-immune-system

https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/why-handwashing.html

 https://medlineplus.gov/immunesystemanddisorders.html

https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2020/march/weakened-immune-system

https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2020/march/weakened-immune-system

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-boost-immune-health

https://www.henryford.com/blog/2020/07/debunking-covid19-mask-myths

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/05/08/fact-check-wearing-face-mask-does-not-weaken-immune-system/3088954001/

https://www.sciencealert.com/taking-extra-hygiene-precautions-for-covid-19-isn-t-going-to-weaken-your-immune-system#:~:text=Moment%2FGetty%20Images)-,No%2C%20All%20This%20COVID%2D19%20Hand%20Washing%20Isn't,to%20'Weaken'%20Your%20Immune%20System&text=But%20there%20have%20been%20some,%22train%22%20our%20immune%20defences.

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-social-distancing-and-self-quarantine

Author
Casey Walker, D.C. Casey Walker, D.C. is the founder of R2 Medical Centers a medically integrated clinic, family-owned and operated in Lowell, Indiana. He has been practicing chiropractic since graduating from Palmer Chiropractic in Davenport, IA in 2005. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, cycling and fly-fishing.

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