By Dr. Guloba Umarashid
Immunity is defined as the body’s ability to fight infection. Immunity is broadly divided into innate or natural immunity and acquired or adaptive immunity. The skin that covers our bodies and the white blood cells help us fight infection and form part of the natural immunity. Acquired immunity comes from vaccination or antibodies made by the body after being exposed to an antigen or infectious agent like a measles virus.
Even with the strongest medications or antibiotics, the body ultimately has to fight the infection for one to heal otherwise, the medications will not help. Just as with Covid-19, those with better immunity will get only a slight flu and cough for a few days and heal without any medication. This is part of the reason why young people fared better than the elderly and those with chronic diseases like Diabetes which reduce one’s immunity.
Highest on the list of causes of a low immunity is stress. More than 70% of all diseases are caused by stress. Stress will lead to the release of stress hormones which have a major side effect of reducing your immunity and thus even the flu that you would have fought off easily, turns into pneumonia leading to hospitalization and worse.
How to improve our immunity
1. Reduce or minimize stress.
2. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
3. Exercise regularly. Consistency is what produces results.
4. Manage your weight. Any weight addition beyond your normal BMI puts a strain on the heart, lungs, bones and will even lead to hypertension and diabetes.
5. Do not smoke.
6. Get enough sleep.
7. Do not drink Alcohol and if you do, then drink in moderation.
8. Get vaccinated with all recommended vaccines like Hepatitis B and others.
Lastly, do an annual health check up especially when you are not feeling sick. DO NOT WAIT TO FEEL SICK!! Know your blood pressure. Our blood pressures will go up with age. Actively manage your weight. It’s a source of many ailments. All females who are sexually active should get cervical cancer screening once every 3 years and do self breast exams daily. All males above 45 years should get screened for prostate cancer.
Stay healthy and stay safe.
The Author of this article is a Medical Doctor working at the MUBS HEALTH SERVICES CENTRE.