Maintaining a healthy immune system

The immune system is a complex system of cells and proteins that guards the body against infection. In this effort, the immune system keeps a record of every germ (microbe) it has ever defeated to identify and destroy the microbe quickly should it enter the network again.

How Is An Immune System Formed And Maintained?

To be immune means to be safeguarded. It makes perfect sense that the body system, which helps fight off sickness, is known as the immune system. Organs, tissues, and cells form a network that works together to protect the body.

There are two main parts of the immune system:

  1. The innate immune system which you are born with are phagocytes that chew up invading germs.
  2. The adaptive immune system which you develop when your body comes into contact with microbes or chemicals released by microbes. Lymphocytes, which allow the body to remember and recognize previous invaders.

Leukocytes, white blood cells, form part of this defense system.

These germ-fighting cells are located throughout the human body, including your spleen, an organ in your belly that filters blood and helps combat infections. Leukocytes also can be found in bone marrow, a thick, spongy jelly inside your bones.

Since there is this excellent combatant network in place, why do humans still get sick?

Although impressive, humans are still mortal and will get sick from time to time. But an immune system helps the human body get well again. That makes vaccinations for you and your children that much more critical as the body is fortified enough to fight off serious ailments that your system alone may not be enough to combat.

For instance, a vaccine that prevents measles will protect you from the disease because your immune system is exposed to the dormant cells and learns to fight and recognize the infecting germs.

Healthy children can assist their immune systems by practicing good hygiene and washing their hands regularly to prevent infection. Not to mention eating nutritional foods, getting plenty of exercise, getting enough sleep and getting regular medical checkups. There are additional ways to aid your immune system, such as daily supplements like probiotics, to maintain gut health.

What Happens When An Immune System Is Not Maintained Or Is Out Of Balance?

Abnormalities of the immune system can lead to autoimmune diseases, immunodeficiencies, and allergic diseases.

In other words, an immune system that is out of balance will not only fail to protect the body, but it can even attack it. Such an occurrence is a case of mistaking “self” cells for attacking pathogens resulting in debilitating autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Allergies, a common ailment, can result when an immune system mistakes an innocuous particle (like pollen) for an invading parasite.

Children with Healthy Immune System laying on grass

What Does It Take To Maintain A Well-Balanced Immune System?

How can you improve your and your families’ immune systems?

On the whole, the immune system does an incredible job protecting your body against infection-causing microorganisms. But, as we know, it is not perfect. A germ may be successful in slipping past your defenses and causing trouble.

Is it possible to intervene in this process and strengthen your immune system? Consider these scenarios:

  • What if you improve your diet?
  • What if you take vitamins or herbal preparations?
  • What if you make other lifestyle changes in the hope of near-flawless immune response?

Healthy Ways To Boost An Immune System

According to Harvard Health Publishing, the first line of defense is to make sure that your children lead a healthy lifestyle. All parts of the body, as well as the immune system, perform better when sheltered from environmental assaults and strengthened by healthy-living strategies such as:

  • Try to minimize stress in your children and allow them some downtime rather than adhere to a strict schedule.
  • Take steps to avoid infection, such as making sure they are washing their hands frequently.
  • Ensure that your children get adequate sleep.
  • Consult your pediatrician on your child’s weight and make sure that a healthy weight is maintained.
  • Introduce regular exercise, especially outside.
  • Feed your children a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
  • Don’t smoke around your children.
  • Give your children daily supplements like vitamins and Probiotics have been found to promote good gut health [insert link to What Is A Probiotic And How Would It Affect Children's General Health?] and a healthy immune system [insert link to Probiotics That Help Children Achieve A Healthy And Well-Balanced Immune System].

There is evidence that declares various micronutrient deficiencies can alter immune responses.  Keeping up to date with probiotics, vitamins, and other supplements will ensure that your immune system is supported.

Maintaining a healthy immune system for children is an ongoing effort, but it is not one that needs to be time-consuming. Supplements like a daily vitamin D [link to The Importance Of Vitamin D For Healthy Growth] supplement are great in making sure your children stay healthy and on track with their growth and development no matter how busy life gets.