You want a strong immune system these days, with the coronavirus around every corner. Unfortunately, self-isolation can damage your protective layers. Here’s how to tell if your immune system is weakening, and how to get it back to full power.
1. You Have Canker Sores
“It is most likely related to stress and vitamin deficiencies,” says Dr. Dimitar Marinov. “So, it might be an indicator that your immune system needs support.” “The best way to support your immune system is to avoid deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals that support its function,” says Dr. Marinov. “Eat a balanced diet that includes sources of vitamins C and D, and zinc,” says Dr. Leann Poston.
2. You Are Fatigued
“Fatigue can be a sign of low immunity, especially when a person is undergoing a lot of physical or psychological stress,” says Dr. Charles-Davies, founder of 25 Doctors, a health information site. “Stress is a proven immunosuppressant,” says Dr. Lili Barsky. “Stress can increase our susceptibilities to any infection.” Dr. Gerry Curatola, a wellness expert and founder of Rejuvenation Health, recommends “incorporating yoga poses for deep relaxation and to help reset your autonomic nervous system and restore your immune system as well.”
3. You’re Not Sleeping Well
“During sleep, your immune system releases protective proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. These increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress,” says Dr. Curatola. “Research has found that sound sleep improves production of immune cells, which fight against pathogens including viruses and bacteria.” Set a sleep schedule and stick to it, eliminating screen time at least two hours before bed and have no caffeine after noon.
4. You Have An Unexplained Rash
“Don’t ignore if you develop a skin rash that is not going away with time,” says Laura McGevna Nelson, MD, board-certified dermatologist. “Rashes often flare when the immune system is going haywire.” Many dermatologists are offering telemedicine consults. Contact yours if necessary.
5. You Catch Colds More Often
“This happens when you are not recovering well from your activities or simply not eating enough,” says Dr. Marinov. “A healthy lifestyle is always recommended,” says Dr. Siddique, DOCS Spine + Orthopedics. “Hence, eat well, don’t binge drink, and stay away from illicit drugs!”
6. You Have Minor Infections
“Thrush, caused by the fungus candida, is an opportunistic infection that causes white plaques on the inner surface of the lips and over the tongue,” says Dr. Poston. “Opportunistic infections take advantage of a compromised immune system.” If you notice this on your lips or tongue, contact your dentist.
7. You Have Slow-Healing Wounds
“A wound that looks infected and does not resolve with proper care can be a sign that your immune system is not functioning at its best,” says Dr. Poston. Contact your doctor if you’re not healing quickly.