In the wake of Corona virus pandemic, many are unsure of their immune status and are frantically seeking ways to boost their immune system. They want to beat this virus should they accidentally get infected. If you are reading this post, it may be because you took the IMMUNE STATUS QUESTIONNAIRE and are surprised at your score. Or perhaps, you genuinely want to understand how the under listed signs and symptoms connote a weak immunity. Hopefully these 10 signs help you understand and empower you to make the necessary changes.
*If you have not yet checked your IMMUNE status, click HERE.
Have you felt any of these in the past 6 months? Let’s discuss your immune status.
- Constant feeling of Tiredness
- You easily catch Colds and Coughs
- Frequent Tummy Aches and Diarrhoea
- High Stress Levels
- Poor Wound healing or Cold Sores around the lips
- Frequent Infections
- Sudden High Fevers
- Muscle and Joint Aches
- Skin Breakouts, Boils, Eczema
- Always on Medication for one Illness or the other
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Weak Immune System verses Being Sick
Before we delve into the 10 warning signs, Can we separate the meaning of these two? Not entirely. Many people walk around with weak immunity but do not feel sick. They feel constantly tired and a quick nap usually brings relief. Then, there is that headache that occasionally springs up and goes away temporarily with a dose of paracetamol. Usually many people do not ascribe being sick to these nagging symptoms and most would ignore them as pointers to a weak immune system. In fact, being sick is an expression of a weakened immune system that was unable to withstand the attack of an offending organism such as viruses, bacteria and parasites. In the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic, many have now become acutely aware of this age old health phenomenon.
It would be awesome if one could boost their immunity over night but it takes almost 5 to 10 days for a healthy body to form antibodies against an invading organism. Now imagine how long it would take if the your body’s system is not strong or kept strong in the first place. These common tell-tale signs will help you identity what is amiss.
1. You Constantly Feel Tired
You know you are doing everything to stay refreshed and on top of your game. Yet you are most often exhausted and may even assume you have Malaria. Sleep seems not to help and neither your favorite hobby. By midday you are tired and very low on energy . Is your body’s immune system telling you that it is struggling?
When there is an active infection, our immune system is in high demand . In this state, the system pulls on all other resources of energy to perform optimally. In another instance, too much activity of the immune system in the absence of any infection can cause the body to mal-adapt and misappropriate energy reserves. This immune over activity ,in the form of chronic inflammation is mostly due to chronic infection or poor dietary choices such as eating unhealthy fats, sugar and processed foods. Hence, when there is chronic infection or inflammation, your immune system will leave you with less energy causing tiredness.
2. You Easily Catch Colds or Coughs
If you get colds, coughs, runny nose or catch the flu more than 2 x a year, you may need to work on strengthening your immunity.Different types of viruses and bacteria cause common cold and catchy coughs. Rhinoviruses are the commonest and at best , when infected, your body is capable of fighting them off without showing symptoms. Likewise bacteria causing coughs. But in a weakened immune state, the body is unable to keep up with the constant demand to produce white blood cells. This leads to the nagging respiratory symptoms.
3. You Get Frequent Tummy Aches and Diarrhoea.
Have you been told many times over that you have typhoid fever? Or do you find yourself taking Loperamides like Imodium often to curb diarrhoeal episodes? If you have these along with frequent constipation, it could be a sign of a weak immune system .This is because your gut (intestinal microorganism) plays a huge role in regulating your overall immune balance. These healthy microorganisms help protect the gut against infection by sending necessary signals to the immune system particularly white blood cells. But when these healthy microbes get destroyed, bad microbes over populate, irritate the gut and cause tummy aches and diarrhoea. Necessary signals to fight off these infections are lost and this in effect weakens the immune system.
4. You Feel Stressed or Burnt Out
The higher the amount of stressors in your life, the more likely you are to have a weak immune system. This is because, chronic and long term release of the stress hormone Cortisol, lowers your lymphocyte T-cell response. These lymphocytes (white blood cells) are the main fighters of infection in your body. Is it then surprising that one should get sick after a big project or sudden financial loss? It is important to reduce the amount of stress you are exposed to so you do not lower your immune response to infections such as COVID 19. Additionally, with continuous release of cortisol, the body gets use to the high levels of cortisol leading to chronic inflammation.
5. Your Wounds Heal Slower
The immune system plays a central role in the skin wound healing . There are four sequential stages in the process of wound healing and all of these processes rely on various immune cells and important cell mediators to function properly in skin repair. Consequently, any interruptions in this process results in poor wound healing. Notable factors affecting the immune function delaying wound healing include :
Local Factors – Factors at the wound site
- how much oxygen your blood carries
- infection of the wound
Systemic Factors- Other Factors in the body
- Age – The elderly
- Sex Hormones – Elderly males
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Medications such as Prednisolone, Short term use of NSAIDs, Chemotherapy drugs
- Smoking – Cigarettes and Tobacco
- Nutrition – Deficiency in Proteins (esp Arginine, Glutamine, Collagen), Vitamin C, E and Fatty Acids
6. You Get Frequent Infections
If you are frequently treating infections, your immune system may be sending you signals that it is struggling. For instance, it is not normal to be treating malaria or typhoid fever, vaginal discharges, respiratory and urinary tract infections repeatedly within a year. In other words, if you feel sick most of the time and feel the need to see the doctor often, it often implies your body is unable to adequately fight off offensive microorganisms. A clear sign of a weak immune system. You need to work on boosting your immune system and make changes to your health status.
7. You Develop Sudden High Fevers
This symptom is most often an indication of an oncoming infection. Other times it is a signal of an impending flare in a preexisting autoimmune condition. Regardless of what might be the precipitant of a sudden elevation in your body temperature, it is time to pay attention to your immune system .
Controversially, though fevers set in motion a series of activities that help the immune system fight off infections, many quickly resort to antipyretics like paracetamol to dampen the fever. Agreeably, dampening the fever makes you feel good but that also means you are stopping the very necessary natural action that is structured to help preserve your immune function. Perhaps the beneficial thing to do is to wait out a fever between the range of 37.5’C- 40.5’C , drink more fluids and allow it to run its course. However, high fevers above 41.0’C are known to cause complications. Seek a Doctors help as this may indicate as severe infection or medical condition.
8. Your Muscles And Joints Ache Often
Chronic joint and muscle aches are very much linked to ones immune system. When the immune system has to fight off infections, it produces a lot of inflammatory chemicals and white blood cells. In the initial stages, the number of monocytes, another cell group of white blood cells, become high. But as the immune system weakens and the inflammation continues, these monocytes get depleted. It is these monocytes that regulate the immune system . Over time, the the body moves into a chronic pain state and the joints become chronically inflamed with swellings and a lot of aches and pains. In autoimmune diseases, a similar phenomenon occurs where the immune system fights against the body and over time weakens it leading to chronic inflammation. That is why with chiropractic care, boosting your immunity is very much a part of caring for the joint, muscle and nerves.
9. You Always Have Skin Problems (eg. Eczema)
Our skin tissue contains fat compounds called lipids. These long chained lipid help create a barrier preventing water from leaving you skin and prevent irritants and unwanted organisms from entering it. However, when your immune system has to constantly work in the presence of for example , an infection , the lipids are unable to work efficiently. In effect, water leaves the skin leaving it dry and cracked up allowing unwanted bacteria, fungi, to enter the skin causing acne and eczema. Thus if you find your skin flaking, itchy, dry or you develop boils easily , you may want to make our immune system strong again .
10. You Are Always On Some Medication
If you find yourself taking in antibiotics or malarial medication more than twice a year, you need to consider working on your immune system to make it stronger. It is not healthy to be always taking in one medication or the other to relieve symptoms that keep resurfacing. In fact , chronic use of antibiotics can cause diarrhoea. Too much paracetamol leads to liver issues. NSAIDS like Diclofenac lead to kidney problems and ulcerations in the tummy. That said, remember your immune system is built perfectly to help you fight off germs without needing external help such as with use of medications.
There are many more tell tale signs of a weak immunity. Fortunately in identifying these deficiencies there is great hope of strengthening it.
DO NOT IGNORE THE SIGNS.