Immune System: Our Personal Powerhouse for Survival
immune system is designed to ward off harmful bacteria and disease.
Occasionally, a person is born without a strong or effective immune
system. But most of the time, it is external factors like flu
season or other environmental elements that can throw the immune
process off balance, weakening it and making us susceptible to disease
There are a variety of things that can cause someone's immune system to weaken. Poor nutrition, chronic illness, heredity, injuries, allergies, and even some medications like certain antibiotics can leave your body open to illness and infection.
Common Immune System Assailants
The National Institutes
of Health estimates that 5 to 20 percent of Americans come down
with the flu (or influenza virus) every flu season. In the U.S.,
more than 200,000 are hospitalized with the flu and 36,000 die from
the flu every year. Flu symptoms include extreme exhaustion, fever, chills, body aches, sore throat,
and stuffy nose.
The influenza virus
is one of the most changeable of viruses. As the flu virus spreads
and makes copies of itself, it goes through constant genetic changes.
These genetic changes block the human immune system from recognizing
the flu virus from year to year. That's why new flu
shots are made every year, to fight the most current flu strain.
However, flu shots are no guarantee that you won't catch the flu,
so boosting the immune system is also important in flu prevention.
a yeast infection,
is another frustrating illness with a broad range of symptoms. Widespread
and difficult to diagnose, yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth
of the fungus Candida. Candidiasis can occur in both women and men
and happens more frequently in people with weakened immune systems.
Yeast infections are another example of why boosting the immune
system is vital to overall good health.