8 MisConception About the Immune System
Loading up on vitamins and minerals and gargling with warm water won’t boost your immune system. In the age of coronavirus, beware of immune system myths.
As the coronavirus pandemic rages across the world, many people are wondering what, if anything, they can do to boost their immune system.
While there are steps you can take to support your immune system, a lot of misinformation is being spread around.
There are a lot of myths and misinformation circulating about ways to boost the immune system. It is important to separate fact from fiction now more than ever because sticking to facts could save lives.
Here are eight myths about immunity:
1. Increasing my regular dose of vitamins and minerals will boost my immune system and keep me from getting sick.
Many people take vitamins and minerals as part of their daily health regimen. There’s no truth to the idea that increasing your consumption of vitamins and minerals will boost your immune system and shield you from getting ill.
2. Gargling with warm water or salt and vinegar will kill viruses.
There’s no truth to the idea that gargling with anything will destroy viruses, including the coronavirus. Although gargling will soothe your throat and give you temporary relief if you have a sore throat, it is not going to kill anything.
3. Exercising can weaken my immune system.
On the contrary, exercise lowers the level of the hormone cortisol. If you have cortisol levels that are too high for too long, it may impair the immune system and make you prone to infections. Low to moderate exercise, for 30 to 60 minutes daily, will boost immunity. Engaging in stress-reducing activities, like yoga and meditation, can also help lower cortisol levels.
4. I was born with a very good immune system, so I won’t get sick.
Unfortunately, our immune system gets weaker as we age. Being born with a good immune system won’t prevent you from getting the coronavirus. Therefore, older people should be more careful as the immune system’s ability to fight off infections will be weaker. Stay focused on boosting your immunity by eating a healthy diet, exercising, getting recommended vaccinations and keeping underlying medical conditions under control.
5. If I catch a virus or get vaccinated, I’ll be immunized from other forms of that virus.
The influenza virus that causes the common cold changes from season to season, and there are many different strains.
Being infected with one strain of a virus does not confer future immunity against other strains of that virus. As for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the virus does not appear to be mutating significantly. However, it is too early to tell whether being exposed will confer long-term immunity against being reinfected.
6. Getting a flu shot compromises your immune system and makes you get the flu.
This is untrue because the flu shot does not have the live flu virus in it. It has pieces of the coat of the flu virus to help your immune system recognize the virus in order to attack it and kill it before you get sick. But these pieces of the viral coat proteins of the flu virus are not enough to cause you to get the flu.
7. Having the flu or a cold will protect you against coronavirus.
The viruses that cause the common cold or flu are completely different from the coronavirus. Catching a cold or the flu provides no protection against the coronavirus.
8. If I develop COVID-19 and recover, I’m immune forever.
Thankfully, most experts are on the same page and believe people develop immunity once they recover from COVID-19. Unfortunately, we do not know how long that immunity will last, Expert says. If you are feeling better, you have likely mounted a good and protective immune response. However, whether your immunity will last years or lifelong remains to be clarified.
To recap, here are 8 immune system myths.
- Loading up on my regular dose of vitamins and minerals will boost my immune system and keep me from getting sick.
- Gargling with warm water or salt and vinegar will kill viruses.
- Exercising can weaken my immune system.
- I was born with a very good immune system, so I won’t get sick.
- If I catch a virus or get vaccinated, I’ll be immunized from other forms of that virus.
- Getting a flu shot compromises your immune system and makes you get the flu.
- Having the flu or a cold will protect you against coronavirus.
- If I develop COVID-19 and recover, I’m immune forever.