Strengthening Our Defences Against Winter Illness

Evading this season’s colds, coughs, and flu can feel like an uphill battle through a treacherous war zone. As we forge through uncharted territory, we remain constantly vulnerable to an enemy ambush closing in on us. The same can be said of our bodies during winter, when they must regularly defend against viruses and bacteria. Poor battle tactics, such as inadequate immune defences, can increase the chance of viruses and bacteria leading to an infection. Fortunately, arming ourselves with tools that enhance our immune response can turn the tables on the enemy and mount a counterattack that could win the war, allowing us to conquer any bugs that may come our way.

The Nitty Gritty of the War Zone

Our immune system has evolved to identify and destroy pathogens, viruses, and bacteria before they win the war. It does so by drawing on two lines of immune defence.

The innate immune response is activated when a pathogen we are exposed to invades our body, immediately setting into motion the production and release of immune cells that hunt down and destroy the attacker. Conversely, the adaptive immune response plays a slow and measured strategy, using other types of specialised immune cells (known as B cells and T cells) to learn about the threat and adjust its defences accordingly for a targeted approach.

When these two lines of defence are in peak form, our immune system does a solid job of protecting us against pathogenic threats. However, an inadequate immune response increases the likelihood of pathogens overcoming our immune defences, leading to infection. In these instances, enhancing our immune system’s function using natural medicines can help build resistance against viral and bacterial pathogens and prevent the onset of infection.

Our Tactical Advantage

Arm yourself with an immune-enhancing arsenal this winter by making an appointment with us, where we will help identify the weaknesses in your defence and advise you of the best battle plan for your needs. We can also recommend supplements to enhance your body’s immune response, providing you with an added edge when fending off viral and bacterial foes.

However, should a formidable opponent sneak past your defences, leading to a cold, cough, or flu, we can prescribe additional immune-boosting strategies to help you recover faster. The best options for you will depend on the type of infection that’s slipped past your guard, which is why it is important to get expert help.

Our Immune-Boosting Arsenal

Engage your Gut Bacteria
It might surprise you to learn that the gut is the key to your immune health. Within your gut, your resident bacteria (and other microscopic organisms), known as your microbiome, directly interact with your immune army, a large proportion of which is housed in the gut. This affects your overall immune response against infection.

Put simply, a healthy microbiome full of beneficial bacteria helps to build immune function, whilst a compromised microbiome can hinder your immune army’s response against infection.

Unfortunately, many things can reduce your levels of good bacteria. A common example is antibiotics, which are often prescribed when infection keeps getting the better of you. If this pattern sounds familiar to you, consider making an appointment with us, where we can assess and address the health of your gut bacteria.

Stock up on Nutritional Ammunition
Your immune system’s ability to protect you also depends upon your nutritional health. Several nutrients, including zinc and vitamin C, are involved in keeping your immune cells in good shape, as they help your body to create them on a daily basis. If you’re usually on the losing end of colds and flu, and haven’t considered topping up your nutritional stores, there’s a fair chance that supplementing zinc and vitamin C can increase your resistance to infection and support faster recovery.

Maximise Your Sleep Quality
Your immune system feels the same, especially when it’s faced with the threat of illness. Put simply, sleep is the body’s time to rest and regenerate itself, so it can create enough immune cells to defend you from illness.

Keep an Eye on Your Stress
High and prolonged levels of stress take a toll on the immune system, weakening your defences and making you more susceptible to sickness. Managing stress helps more than just immune function; it also improves the overall health of your body.

Stay Fighting Fit with Exercise
Exercise also strengthens your immune system, making it more powerful and effective in its response to nasty infections. Even just 30 minutes of walking has been shown to boost the quantity of immune cells in the body, which is why regular exercise is a key weapon in beating back illness.

Winter is Coming

To prepare your immune army for cold and flu season, make an appointment with us today to equip yourself with the best strategy to shut down infection before it becomes a battle. By taking our professional advice on board and focusing on these five areas (for at least four weeks before winter hits), you will be setting yourself up to triumph against illness, so you can spend more time appreciating the magic of winter.