Last updated on May 13th, 2021
Whenever we got ill, our body fights with those disease-causing germs and tries to make us feel better. The fight between the disease-causing germs and our body system is very complex. Both the germs (organisms) and our bodies use different weapons, missiles (i.e. virulence factors of organisms and cell/antibodies by humans), etc to protect/defend themselves and to kill the enemy.
Immunity is the collective term that refers to the ability of an organism to recognize and defend itself against infectious agents. This immunity exists in our body before we born. Innate immunity also called genetic immunity is because of genetically determined characteristics.
But we can also develop immunity later on, which is called adaptive immunity. Just like mothers milk provides some sort of immunity to the babies. Immunization is an artificial way of developing adaptive immunity to a particular pathogen of interest.
Theoretically, the host defenses of young, healthy, human adults are capable of preventing nearly all infectious diseases but a variety of disorders, injuries, medical interventions, and environmental factors alters our resistance to infectious agents, making us prey.
Genetically some people or races of people are resistant to some type of disease/pathogens and other peoples to other disease/pathogens. Generally, very young (infants/neonates or children) and the elderly are most susceptible to infections compared to youths. Children below the age of 3 years are more susceptible due to a less developed immune system and elderly due to waning of the immune system.
As we don’t have control over our genetic makeup and cant stop aging to get the desired level of immunity but we have some control over our diet and environment to make desired changes in our immune system. You can boost your immunity level, or keep your immunity level strong. Strong immunity means you will win the fight fought against disease-causing germs.
You can implement these steps to boost your immunity level.
- Take special precautions and do not expose yourself unnecessarily to infectious agents. While traveling to public buses, trains, etc., and while visiting hospitals use special masks to protect you from getting respiratory pathogens.
- Protect yourself from traumatic injury because traumatic injuries lower our resistance level and at the same time provide easier access for germs to reach inner tissues.
- Protect yourself from air pollution and exposure to radiation
Pollution and exposure to radiation also lower resistance to infection. Air pollutants, including tobacco smoke, damage respiratory membranes and reduce their ability to remove foreign substances. They also depress the activity of phagocytes.
- Do not take unnecessary antibiotics
Antibiotics destroy commensal organisms that provide various benefits to our body by producing vitamins and also competing with pathogenic microorganisms. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics allows opportunistic infections to become established.
- Get adequate protein and vitamin intake
It helps for maintaining healthy intact skin and mucous membranes and phagocytic activity. It is also important for lymphocyte production and antibody synthesis.
- Have a regular moderate exercise
Regular moderate exercise of 30-45 minutes can produce a 20% increase in antibody level, which occurs during exercise and one hour afterward. At that time Natural Killer cell activity also increased. But excessive exercise eg running more than 20 miles per week depresses the immune system.