We are exposed every day to countless germs that our immune system fights off. The skin and the mucous membranes form the first layer of protection. Their defense function is reinforced by antibodies present in mucus, saliva and tears. If the first barrier does get broken through by a germ, the non-specific and acquired immune system gears into action more strongly.
The non-specific and the acquired immune system
The non-specific part of our immune system consists of different “eater cells” (granulocytes and macrophages). These cells offer a quick and decisive first defense against intruders. For instance in skin damage: the germ is phagocyted (“eaten up”) and intracellularly lysed (“disintegrated in the cell”). The non-specific immune system – as its name indicates – is not focussed on a specific germ, but defends against various intruders.
The acquired part of our immune system consists of specialized defense cells. These cells have so-called immune system regulating tasks. For example, they are capable of eliminating cancer and virus infected cells. They can also produce large amounts of antibodies, which are specific defense substances. The acquired immune system adjusts itself in the course of your life and allows for a strong, focussed (specific) immune reaction. Special memory cells – that may easily live 20 years – enable a quick and massive counterattack if you get into contact with a germ for a second time: the very principle of immunization.
The non-specific and the acquired part of the immune system work together and are indissociable.
For building up a good resistance it is important to have a healthy lifestyle. Three important pillars are:
- Good nutrition. Eat healthy and varied food (with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables) and drink sufficiently (water, herbal tea, freshly squeezed orange juice)
- Adequate relaxation and sleep (avoid stress as much as possible)
- Frequent physical exercise, preferably outdoors: physical exercise where the body gets a lot of oxygen, such as cycling or swimming, enables a better blood circulation and therefore a good supply of nutrients and proper discharge of waste
Natural, minimally processes food gives your body what it needs and helps build up a good resistance. For instance, brown rice contains nine times more mineral substances than white rice and whole grain products are richer in valuables substances than products made of white flour.
Everybody knows that it is important to eat enough fruits and vegetables. Not so well known is the fact that it is better not to mix fruit and vegetable together in a meal, as it can cause fermentation.
Furthermore, good, natural nutrition should consist of partly cooked and partly raw vegetables. Raw veggies contain many important nutrients.
And finally, very important; take time for each meal and chew very well. Saliva neutralizes certain substances and prepares the food for digestion.
Nevertheless, we sometimes get sick. This could be from exposing ourselves to large populations of germs, for instance from eating contaminated food or during an epidemic.
When so many germs invade our body at once, they temporarily dominate.
This would certainly be more likely to occur with a diminished resistance because high stress, lack of sleep, a surgery or an unhealthy diet. In these situation it is especially important to strenghten our resistance.
A good resistance can minimize the chance of getting the flu. To prevent the flu, you should also avoid contact with the virus by following this advice:
Because the flu virus is spread through talking, coughing or sneezing, you can protect yourself by not getting near people with flu-like symptoms. You can also adopt the following measures:
- Keep your elbow or handkerchief on your mouth if you sneeze or cough
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes as much as possible
- Use paper tissues for coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, and use them once. Throw them in the bin afterwards
- Clean objects such as doorknobs regularly
- Ventilate living and sleeping areas
Want to know everything about the flu? Go now to the special flu page!
The best tip with insufficient resistance, the flu or a cold? Echinaforce tablets.
Echinaforce tablets contain proven effective ingredients which reinforce the immune system. Hereby the resistance increases against bacterial and viral infections. You are less likely of getting sick and if you do, you will recover more quickly! More info
Not only do you suffer from a sore throat, but you also feel miserable and have a fever? Then you probably have the flu. If you want to know whether is the common cold or the flu, do the test!