Your immune system is your body’s way of fighting off disease. It consists of a huge network of cells and tissues that fight off invading bugs and diseases by means of a complicated attack. The immune system is found throughout the body and is able to tell the difference between tissue that belongs to us and tissue that is foreign. If your immune system detects a virus or bacteria, it mounts an immune response to get rid of the foreign invaders.
Your health and your immune system are directly related. If your immune system is strong, it will provide good protection against things like colds and flu. But if your immune system is weak, you are more likely to get frequent colds and other infections. In fact, you could suffer from things like sinus infections, as well as tiredness and lack of energy.
Although everyone’s immune system is different, it usually becomes stronger during adulthood. This is because we have been exposed to a lot of pathogens (foreign invading cells, eg. viruses) by then, and have developed stronger immunity. This is why adults and teenagers usually get sick less frequently than children. Once the immune system has fought off an invader, the specific antibody produced to fight the bug remains in your system for life.
To avoid illness, medical experts advise us to keep our immune systems strong by making healthy choices. Of course, diet and exercise are extremely important in promoting a strong immune system. But there are plenty of other things that you might be doing that are weakening your immune system. The most important thing to do is to ditch the unhealthy habits and adopt healthier ones. Read on for 15 ways in which you could be damaging your immune system.
1. Poor personal hygiene
Experts agree that one of the best ways of avoiding illness such as colds and flu is to practice good hygiene. For a strong immune system, we must exercise proper hygiene. If hygiene is neglected your immune system will become weaker. This will leave you more vulnerable to germs that could lead to disease or infection.
Good hygiene means, above all, washing your hands frequently. Always wash your hands when you come home, after going to the toilet, before preparing food and before eating. Don’t forget to clean under your nails. This is an area rife with germs. Avoid putting your fingers in your mouth, and touching your nose. You might be transmitting a virus via your nose without knowing it. Brush your teeth twice a day, and floss once. A surprising benefit of this is the amazing fact that regular flossing has been linked by scientists to living a longer life!
Take a daily shower, and make sure the way you prepare your food is hygienic. Always make sure your food is fresh and washed where appropriate. Wearing clean clothes and washing your clothes after wearing them can also help to boost your immunity. Avoid using other people’s personal possessions. This includes razors, toothbrushes, etc. To share such items is to risk catching someone else’s harmful germs.
And good personal hygiene is not just good for your immune system. It’s also good for your mind! When you practice good daily hygiene habits, you feel good about yourself. This is important for your mental health. If you’ve ever seen someone who doesn’t practice good personal hygiene, you will know that they look unhealthy. Missing teeth, bad breath, body odor and unbrushed hair look unhealthy and might attract discrimination.