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Boosting your immunity

What is immunity?

It is an ability for us to fight infection, disease or unwanted biological invasion. (sounds dramatic!).

What are the different types of immunity?

Innate (inborn) immunity and adaptive (acquired) immunity.

Innate immunity is the first line of defence against invasion of a pathogen. Innate immunity can only recognize something that is not you.

Adaptive immunity is where there is a cascade of biological events that occurs to recognize the foreign invader and builds “walls” to prevent the invasion. This wall however may not recognize the specific invader and can be indiscriminate.

Innate immunity can work with adaptive immunity whereby there are pathways that can develop over time that will learn to recognize the invader and the body can build up its own defence.

What are some ways that you can boost your immunity?

There are no magical quick fixes. Your immune system develops over time. Invest in your health by looking after the basics such as maintaining a great well-balanced diet, (eliminating or minimizing inflammatory triggers), getting enough rest and exercise.

One of the simplest ways to prevent your exposure to pathogens is to wash your hands regularly. It sounds simple, but a lot of people don’t do it. Just take a moment to think back to your morning, what have you touched today that could potentially have bacteria or viruses on it, and think, did you wash your hands before or after touching it? Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and encouraging others to do this, can minimize the immediate spread of micro-organisms.

Our skin (and mucosa) is our largest organ, and our biggest physical barrier against infections. Think about your skin, mouth, and lining of your lungs as all areas that are potentially exposed to the external environment. Think about the potential for being exposed in this way to the air particles, the droplet particles and direct invasion by micro-organisms around you.

Immunizations are important to build up your body’s ability to build the immunity required for that disease. Understanding these immunizations for your stage in your life and the potential for exposure that you may be if you are travelling is essential. If you are unsure, refer to your guidelines for your areas.

Here is the link for Australia.

The appropriate use of antibiotics is now at the forefront of discussions regarding the effectiveness of antibiotics in the long term. Remember antibiotics are only useful in the presence of a bacterial infection. The body’s own immune system in a healthy person is well equipped to manage most infections. If you are prescribed a course of antibiotics by your Doctor, remember to continue to take the full course, despite feeling better.

Ways to boost your immunity:

· Have a well-balanced diet, get enough rest and exercise

· Practice good personal hygiene, e.g. handwashing, keep your skin healthy

· Keep up to date with immunizations, including travelling immunizations.

· Use prescribed antibiotics sensibly.

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