With the global coronavirus pandemic changing the world as we know it and fires wreaking havoc around the country recently, the topic of health and immunity has been front of mind for many of us.
Thankfully, there are things we can do to improve our immune systems, so we’re less likely to get ill and feel crappy. For instance, we can eat healthily, reduce stress, exercise often, and take natural supplements for immune support. Add these steps up, and you should boost your immunity noticeably.
However, it’s also wise to get to know your body better so that ill health doesn’t creep up on you and have you in a poor state before you know it. You should be able to recognize some of the key signs that you may have a weakened immune system so you can take steps to address problems.
You Get Sick Often and Don’t Bounce Back Quickly
One of the prime indications that your immune system is compromised is when you find you catch every cold going around or otherwise seem to be continually sick. People who come down with things more frequently than others, particularly colds, flu, pneumonia, etc., tend to have issues with their immunity. If you get sick a couple of times per year, don’t worry. This level is normal. However, if you feel like you often have something to deal with, get a checkup.
You might also find you don’t bounce back quickly when you get sick. For most colds, for instance, you should be healing up in around a week to ten days if you’re healthy. If you take longer to recover, this shows that your body is struggling to fight off the disease, and your immunity is likely low.
Be on the lookout for other signs of trouble, such as getting numerous infections throughout the year. This relates to any type of infection, such as sinus, ear, fungal, bacterial, or virus. Also, notice wounds that take a long time to heal, as these indicate that your immune system isn’t as good as it could be.
Your Stress Levels Are Through the Roof
People in a constant state of stress and who have bodies that seem to be perpetually dealing with flight-or-fight situations are more likely to have compromised immunity. Having a body and mind regularly in a stressed state will reduce your ability to mount the necessary antibody responses when you need to. You’ll likely have fewer immune cells available to spring into action. In particular, chronic stress can reduce the body’s lymphocytes, which are the white blood cells that help fight off infections.
Another related issue when it comes to excessive stress is that when leading this kind of life, you’ll have cortisol, one of the prime stress hormones, soaring to heightened levels. This situation tends to weaken your immune system by compromising the gut-immune barrier in the digestive tract that acts as one of the first lines of health protection. Cortisol can lead to viruses more easily invading your body via the lining of your intestinal tract.
Pay attention to when you come down with a cold, flu, or another sickness. If it’s right after you’ve finished a big project at work or have been dealing with an emotionally taxing situation in your personal life, this shows you’re rundown.
You Don’t Sleep Well or Feel Tired Constantly
How much sleep do you get on average, and what is the quality of your nightly rest? If you struggle to get to sleep, stay asleep, or simply never wake up feeling refreshed, you probably don’t have an optimal immune system. The same goes for if you find that you’re constantly tired, no matter how much shuteye you get.
While there are many reasons why you might not be sleeping well or feeling energetic, having a weakened immune system is one of them. It’s quite common, too. Plus, once you stop getting the quality rest you need, you can get into a vicious cycle. Without enough deep sleep, you’ll miss out on getting the vigorous antibody responses you’d normally enjoy. In turn, you’ll likely end up more rundown and will have more issues to deal with.
Another indication that your immune system isn’t what it should be is if you have ongoing skin issues. For instance, you might notice that your skin is itchy or inflamed, is slow to heal, gets regular infections of the bacterial, fungal, or viral type (such as herpes), or is dealing with eczema. In addition, your skin might show signs of allergic reactions. Note, too, that problems on the skin may be widespread or localized to just one small spot. Either scenario can potentially stem from weakened immunity.
Again, these things can pop up due to all sorts of reasons. However, recurring frustrations in this part of the body are a strong sign that you should consider your immunity, too. After all, the skin is one of our windows into what’s going on internally, not just externally. In particular, our immune systems work to regulate inflammation and are involved in the barrier and microbiome levels of the skin. The microorganisms that live on the skin are believed to be significantly influenced by the immune system.
Your Gut Isn’t Happy
In recent years, the link between gut health and immunity has become more studied and discussed. If you seem to have an unhappy gut and ongoing problems with things like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, nausea, etc., this may be a sign that your immune system isn’t functioning correctly.
With so much of the immune system tissue sitting within the digestive tract, gut symptoms can indicate that things are misfiring. Unhealthy imbalances in the gut, an area so important to overall wellbeing, can have reverberating effects on your overall immunity.
If you notice any of the problems mentioned above, book in to see your doctor ASAP. A blood test and general checkup should help to determine what’s going on, or at least rule out potential health issues.