Don’t look for hi-tech tests to confirm your low immunity. There are none, but know that body abounds with early warning signs of immune weakness. 7 overlooked low immune symptoms
Victim of cold
In the early years of my clinical practice I had a lot of patients with low immune system. I probably kept attracting them, because I myself was one of the victims of low immunity getting sick every time my system encountered a draft or cold. I knew very well what it meant not to be well. I became an expert on overflowing the garbage basket with tissue, and stuffing my night table with variety of cold and flu medicines. I knew that sweating all night helps, so does Vicks, aspirin, lemon, honey, cloves, and wine. I knew how to take care of myself while sick, but what I did not know is how not to get sick. This did not really sit well with me later as a doctor, so I went searching for answers.
I always thought that getting frequent infections is a sign of low immune system. It puzzled me for a while to find that people with “low immune system” syndrome, at least according to their blood tests, actually don’t have low immunity. It turns out that there are other reasons why people experience frequent colds. Recurring colds in adults – why?
Can low immune system be tested?
The immune system is guarded by white blood cells which are widely spread throughout the body. They are our very own army, which is activated when a bacteria or a virus enters the body. I know from medical studies that in cases of low immune system white blood cells are low. So I kept testing my “low immune system” patients to find a pattern. To my surprise people with frequent flus and colds did not have low white blood cells. Contrary to what I expected their levels were never low, but always normal. That puzzled me a while because it meant that these people with frequent flus and colds did not actually have low immunity as per the medical definition. So why they did get frequent infections?
Is Fever a sign of low immune system?
I took few years before I fully understood immunity and the immune system. I realized that getting symptoms such as fever, pain, and runny nose is actually a desirable immune reaction. These are the signs that the immune system has mounted a fight against an invader. These are the ways the body destroys and removes viruses and bacteria. Fever improves circulation of lymph and blood and therefore increasing the likelihood of a virus or bacteria encountering white blood cells. Pain is the end effect of inflammation or in other words, immune system activation. The increased mucus production helps in removing both the living and already destroyed germs. The stronger the reaction, the stronger the fight, the stronger the immune system.
We can frequently observe a strong immune reaction in kids, as they mount a very high fever. Their illness is intense, but short-lived, because their bodies are very efficient in destroying microbes. Low-grade fever and lingering post-infection symptoms are seen frequently in adults. This is a typical reaction of a still working, but much weaker immune system. Watch what symptoms you get. They can tell you if your immune system is strong or not.
Now you know that fever, runny nose or malaise is just a way the immune system works and you should encourage a strong immune reaction. Although it will make you feel better, lowering fever, taking anti-inflammatories or stopping mucus production, is counterproductive. How to effectively deal with an already developing flu or cold is a topic for another post, and if you do not want to miss it, please log in. This way you will get a notification when this topic is posted.
So, if fever, mucus, cough, and malaise indicate a good immune reaction then what’s not right about getting frequent colds and flus? Symptoms of flu or cold can come only AFTER you get infected with a virus or bacteria, never before. Getting symptoms means that the microbe, or rather a large number of microbes, have found a way how to enter into your body. The body will not activate the immune system without a reason, so if you get frequent flus and colds somewhere in your system there is a big open door through which the microbes can parade in. How to close the door? That is a topic for another post. In the meantime you can boost your immune system with foods. How to make immune system stronger?