Prioritizing your immune system has never been more important, especially with the highly contagious Omicron subvariant, BA.2, that is helping to drive another surge of Covid cases around the world.
As an immunologist and functional medicine doctor, patients often ask me how they can measure their immune system health. I tell them that our immune system is a moving target and has no real specified organs where it can be completely isolated. You can’t scan it with an X-ray, biopsy it, or determine it’s exact strength or weakness with a single test.
However, there are four major warning signs that can indicate whether you have a weakened immune system and should put extra effort into giving it a boost:
Signs you have a weak immune system
1. You get sick frequently and take longer than usual to recover.
Don’t be alarmed if you get the sneezes and sniffles through two or three colds a year. Most people bounce back to normal in about a week.
But if you’re constantly catching colds with symptoms that linger for weeks, or even get food poisoning often, it may be due to a sluggish response from your innate immune system.
Your innate immune system involves barriers that keep harmful materials from entering your body. Think of it as the first line of defense against all invaders and injury. Its components include:
- Cough reflex, which helps us expel things that may irritate or infect us.
- Mucus production, which traps bacteria and small particles and helps expel them from the body.
- Stomach acid, which helps kill microbes that enter through our food and water.
2. You are in a constant state of stress.
Certain types of stress can be beneficial for our immune health and overall wellness.
For example, a short-term acute stressor — like a traffic jam — is designed to help your body supercharge its protective mechanisms in an instant. Because of this, acute stress actually helps boost your immune system in the short term.
On the other end of the stress spectrum, chronic stress can be…
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