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How to look after your immune system

20th March 2020

In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to keep your immune system as strong as possible, particularly for those with weak immune systems or underlying health conditions. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to strengthen and support your immune system to try and keep yourself fit and healthy.

Get your vitamins

Your immune system relies heavily on vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E, as well as antioxidants and zinc. To ensure you get enough of these nutrients, eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and wholegrains and consider taking a daily multivitamin to keep those levels boosted. The Nature’s Way Alive! Immune Support vitamins are specifically tailored to support the function and health of your immune system.

Exercise

Exercise can do wonders for most parts of your overall health. As well as improving cardiovascular function and maintaining a healthy body weight, regular exercise can also help to boost your immune system.

This doesn’t need to be a crazily intensive workout every day - just something to keep you moving and get your heart rate up is sufficient.

Wash your hands

Your immune system has to be exposed to a certain level of germs in order to recognise them and learn how to fight them (the way in which vaccinations work). But exposing yourself to too many germs (especially if you have a weak immune system) could be putting yourself at risk of harm.

Follow good hygiene practises such as hand washing and preparing food safely to avoid unnecessary infection and illness. And for when you can’t wash your hands? Use a hand sanitiser gel.

Get outdoors

Not only is spending enough time outdoors an essential source of vitamin D (as this comes from the sun), but scientists also believe that breathing in phytoncides (chemicals produced by plants) increases our white blood cell count. White blood cells are an essential part of your immune system that helps to fight off infections and diseases.

Don’t smoke or drink too much alcohol

Smoking and drinking alcohol can both be damaging to your health and a number of your vital organs. If you smoke or regularly drink then you should make an effort to quit or at least cut back to protect and boost your immune system.

Get enough sleep

The way that your body fights infection is by producing antibodies and these cells are reduced when you don’t get enough sleep. To make sure that your body is prepared to fight bacteria and viruses, you should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. If you're struggling to sleep then our sleeping tablet treatments might be able to help.

Why is your immune system important?

Your immune system is your body’s natural defence against infection and harm, and its function is essential to keep you healthy. It works to recognise the difference between your own body’s cells and alien cells, and attacks cells that could cause you harm.

People with autoimmune diseases have immune systems that malfunction and mistakenly identify your own cells as alien cells and try to destroy them. This includes conditions such as type 1 diabetes, arthritis and psoriasis.

How does your immune system work against coronavirus?

Coronavirus (as the name suggests) is a virus, which means it relies solely on your body’s immune system to fight it. Most germs are either categorised as bacteria or viruses and all of them cause different symptoms and illnesses.

COVID-19 (the illness caused by the coronavirus) shows up as a fever, persistent dry cough and extreme tiredness and because it is caused by a virus, your body must rely on its own immune system to fight it off.

Illnesses that are caused by bacteria can usually be treated with the appropriate kind of antibiotic. Antibiotics will not work on coronavirus though, as they don’t have an effect on viral illnesses. 

If you’re worried that you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, it’s important that you self-isolate, stay hydrated and follow all the government advice.