Monday, November 5, 2012

Health Care and Your Immune System

As the weather begins to cool down and the days get shorter, thoughts naturally turn to strengthening and protecting your immune system to prevent seasonal colds, flu and other illnesses. While nothing listed in this blog should be considered a substitute for the advice and care of a trained medical professional, the thirty blogs listed below with www.fulltimenanny.com do offer up plenty of food-for-thought information that can help you make the most of all your natural defenses this cold and flu season. Nor should they be seen as a substitute for advice from your doctor or medical personnel. According to this site, you can find a lot of material about this topic: http://www.fulltimenanny.com/blog/30-blogs-focused-on-boosting-your-immunity/ .

Your immune system is like a sentry on guard 24 hours a day, according to FC&A Publishing. Or a militia ready to stop any intruder that poses a threat to your health. But who guards the guards? Who protects the protection? You do. That's where a smart diet and healthy lifestyle come in. By knowing how your immune system works and what foods strengthen it, you can help your immune system run at maximum efficiency. Trouble can strike your body at any time. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites attack from the outside, while cancer cells attack from within. Any of these foreign substances, called antigens, stimulate the immune response. Your body counters with its army of white blood cells, including phagocytes, T-cells, and B-cells. They recognize the intruder, mobilize forces, and attack.

For example, according to FCA, T-cells recognize foreign invaders and kill them by breaking them apart. B-cells respond to infection by releasing antibodies, proteins that surround and immobilize the antigens. T-cells and B-cells also have great memories. Once they're exposed to an antigen, they remember it in case it comes back. That's how vaccines work. Of course, your immune system doesn't always work perfectly. It can overreact to a harmless substance, resulting in an allergic reaction, like hay fever or hives. Sometimes your immune system can even turn against your own body. That's what happens in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and type 1 diabetes. When you get sick, it's often because the antigen was able to do some damage before your immune system destroyed it. Or because your immune system wasn't strong enough to fight it off.

Help your body help you. A car needs more thn just fuel to run smoothly - it also needs some preventive maintenance. It’s the same with your immune system. Besides eating the right foods, you should also take care of your body in other ways. Here are a few tips according to FCA:

--Exercise. Regular, gentle exercise, like walking, helps fortify your immune system by stimulating natural killer cells that stop viruses and bacteria. Exercise is especially helpful for seniors. Women over 67 who walk or exercise regularly reportedly have fewer respiratory infections than others.

---Get enough sleep. Your body needs rest to stay in tip-top shape. When it's working to fight off a cold or the flu, sometimes rest is the best medicine.

--Relax. Find ways to reduce stress, which can weaken your immune system. Listen to music, do yoga or tai chi, go for a walk, practice deep breathing exercises or other relaxation techniques, or just talk to someone about your problems.

--Wash your hands. It's an easy and effective way to fight germs. When Navy recruits lathered up five times a day, they watched their rate of respiratory illness drop by 45 percent. Wash vigorously with regular soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds. When you eat right and take care of your body, your immune system will take care of you.

More information can be found at their site: http://www.fca.com/articles/6F280.html . And, according to CNNHealth, the bloodstream is the route along which infection-fighting cells travel throughout the body to where they're needed. When cold and flu season comes around, many people head to their medicine cabinets in search of relief. But a trip to the kitchen may be the smarter move. Given the complexity of the immune system, there isn't one specific food that will magically make you repel cold germs and flu viruses. Instead, eating a healthful, balanced diet is your best investment in immunity. A significant amount of material about healthy eating and how it affects your immune system can be found at this site: http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/diet.fitness/11/14/cl.best.defense/index.html .

If you’re one of the many thousands who get sick without fail every fall and winter, this article is for you. Because as you are probably aware, getting sick is NOT an inevitable part of the change in seasons. You surely know a handful of people who seemingly never get sick -- maybe they work in your office or even share your home. These people are able to avoid illness not because they aren’t exposed to germs, but because their immune system is able to keep them healthy, according to CNCA Health. There’s a common misconception that if you get the flu it’s because you were exposed to a flu virus, whereas if your officemate stays healthy it’s because he was not. But the truth is germs are literally everywhere, and while taking commonsense measures to avoid them, like washing your hands regularly, is smart, it’s na├»ve to think you can avoid them entirely.

But this isn’t really a big deal if you’re healthy, because your body is built to deal with these pathogen exposures and will keep you from getting sick as long as your immune system is strong. In fact, new research in PLoS Genetics revealed that when 17 healthy people were exposed to a flu virus, only half of them got sick. All of them had an active immune response, but the responses yielded different outcomes, with some avoiding illness and others manifesting symptoms like sniffles, sneezing and fever. The researchers therefore concluded that your immune system’s response to the flu virus is an important factor in whether or not you get sick, likely an even more important one than virus exposure. For some great tips on improving your immune system, see this site: http://www.cncahealth.com/health-info/general/natural-tips-healthy-immune-system.htm .

Naturally, there are some medical reasons why your immune system may be challenged, probably due to illness or other health related issues such as HIV/AIDS. For those special cases, your medical professional or primary care doctor is your best source for care. If you suffer from immune system deficiencies due to chemotherapy or other drug related situations, you should always consult your physicians and specialists on how best to treat your personal health and medical needs. This type of case is a significantly greater risk than your standard seasonal health issues and should be treated in like manner.

Until next time.

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