by dr.g

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Looking at illness, most people simply focus on the germ side. What I mean is, most people jump to the conclusion  that exposure to germs be it bacteria or viral seems to always or most of the time result in illness. We fail to acknowledge the other half of the equation on sickness and health; That being the health of the individual’s immune system. A person’s ability to resist pathogens or germs is most likely a much bigger factor of whether the exposure to that germs results in illness. How could it not be when we are all exposed to germs almost every minute of every day, and yet we are not getting ill with every exposure. With that said, it mustn’t simply be exposure that causes illness.

It must be how well a person’s immune system is able to cope with and fight off its exposure to germs that determines whether or not they become ill. Every exposure to germs and the subsequent alerting of the immune system to that particular pathogen can result in a strengthening of the immune system, provided it has a baseline strength to begin with to fight off that germ.  Certainly, back to school time results in a lot of illnesses. Yes kids and adults are exposed to more germs as they are more regularly in contact with more people. However, back to school is also a time of year accompanied by increased stress of new schedules and schools, drastic changes in the weather as well as increased airborne allergens, often less sleep due to getting up earlier for school or adjusting to the new times, for many poorer nutrition as the busyness of the  new schedule often results in eating more fast food or skipping meals and relying on packaged and sugary processed foods, etc….. Each one of these factors results in a challenge or weakening of the immune system leaving an individual more prone to get ill, especially at a time when they are exposed to more germs.

So, what can an individual do to help strengthen their immune system and ward off illness. Paying attention to the following variables will help you to strengthen your immune system.  Get  a good nights sleep. Drink  plenty of water and avoid  sugary drinks (sugar impairs immune function). Eat at least 3 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day (fresh fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals). Even if you have a great diet taking a good whole food vitamin/mineral supplement is recommended, and if you are susceptible to frequent colds or other illness a high quality probiotic supplement is also recommended.  Be mindful of your schedule and your capabilities for handling stress and try not to overschedule week after week. Last, since your nervous system directly affects your immune system, getting your once or twice a month adjustment can help to keep you strong and fight off illness.

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