At the time of the year many people in the northern hemisphere are thinking about the heat and sunshine of the forthcoming summer compared to colds, flus and other common viruses that usually attack us in the winter months, but for many unlucky individuals, a summer cold may attack at any moment, and even flus aren’t unheard of at this time of year.
Having a healthy diet and lifestyle are the best possible methods to keep your immune system working normally (if you’re an healthiest healthy person ), but even the best defences can become vulnerable when we are feeling tired, rundown or overworked. Every second of every dayour bodies are bombarded with potential pathogens (disease-causing organisms or virus particles) which are found upon our skin, in our mouths, within our bodies, in the air we breathe and the food we eat – in fact almost all around, inside and upon us.
Thankfully, most pathogens we encounter are unable to attack us either because they are not able to get to the portion of the body where they can cause a problem, or as our immune systems neutralize them before they do any harm or have the ability to replicate to dangerous numbers.
The immune system is in fact an unbelievable thing. Essentially, your immune system’remembers’ experiences with pathogens, so under normal conditions, any single sort of cold or flu virus you’ve previously had may not make you sick again (there are some exceptions but to cover them would take us well beyond the scope of this article). Unfortunately, the viruses which cause colds and flus mutate rapidly. It follows that their methods of attacking and entering your cells are changing all of the time.
It’s a little like a continual game of cat and mouse, along with your own body beating one pathogen, only to be assaulted by a mutated descendant a couple weeks or months afterwards. This continuous, rapid mutation of viruses is why there will probably never be one cure for the common cold, and why pharmaceutical companies and countries’ medical authorities should take (a incredibly educated and exact ) gamble about which strain of influenza will be the dominant one, come the winter season, and spend weeks producing tonnes of vaccine in the hope of protecting the vulnerable from disease.
For the majority of us, colds and flus are a hassle that we may do without. Being sick makes us feel bad, makes us less productive and of course none of us want to pass on an illness into an older, frail or vulnerable individual, for whom a simple cold may become more than an inconvenience. By maintaining a nutritious diet and lifestyle we can keep our immune systems functioning effectively, and make sure that our bodies have the power and resources that they need to fight any infections that may take hold. We could also take supplements which contain antiviral herbs like Echinacea and Elderberry extract which help optimize and support the immune system, in addition to acting as antibacterial agents.