Busting Myths about the Immune System

Immune System is our guard against diseases. It knocks down viruses and bacteria to protect our body from all sorts of illnesses. This is why it’s essential to keep it in top shape. In order to do that, it’s important to bust common misconceptions and get the facts straight.

Myth #1 – A fever is a sign of weak immune system
A fever, which is actually a symptom and not a disease, is a sign that the body is fighting an infection that is trying to enter the body. Fever actually helps the immune system in two ways. First, the body’s high temperature speeds up cell functioning so they can respond faster to the threatening infection. Second, the high temperature at the same time makes it difficult for the invading germs to reproduce and multiply. Fever isn’t something to worry about unless it goes on for more than days. If it does, it’s time to ring up your doctor.

Myth #2 – Getting a flu shot will get you flu
This is one of the biggest misconceptions about the immune system. The truth is, getting a flu shot will not weaken the immune system but instead empower it enough to fight off the flu virus effectively. A flu vaccine, which contains a dead or weakened virus, will not infect your body. But your immune system doesn’t know that. When it recognizes the threat, it would jump to its defenses and get ready to protect your health. After that, if the real flu virus enters your body, your body has already built a strong immune defense against it. People just make the mistake of thinking that the side effects of the vaccine, which include fever and body aches, are symptoms of flu.

Myth #3 – Stress doesn’t affect the immune system
We all know that stress causes diseases. But what some people don’t know is that it does so by hitting the immune system. Stress releases toxins in the body that lower the body’s immune defense. Stress due to overworking, difficulty in relationships, family issues or chronic diseases can age your immune system significantly, making you susceptible to different kinds of diseases including colds, flu, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease and even cancer. Reducing the amount of stress in your everyday life through meditation, yoga and progression relaxation can help so much in boosting your immune system and improving your overall health.

Myth #4 – Your immune system doesn’t age
Everything inside your body ages as you grow older, including your immune system. This means that as years pass by, your body’s ability to fight infections diminishes. That’s why older adults are more prone to sicknesses than younger people. Not only that, people ages 65 and older also have slower and lower response to immunizations than their younger counterparts. Therefore it’s important to keep the immune system in top condition with a healthy diet filled with antioxidant fruits and vegetables. Free radicals that cause cellular damage and inhibit the function of the immune system could be tackled with a diet rich in antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E and flavonoids.

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