Valley residents are continuing to work through the slight declining trend of COVID-19, many are still concerned about the safety of themselves and their families. With Maricopa County schools beginning the year with online learning, parents, teachers and students are experiencing overwhelming concerns for how and when in-person learning begins. As these health worries weigh heavily on everyone’s minds, our team at the Keystone Natural Family Medicine Clinic is hoping to provide clarity on how our bodies fight viruses and ways to improve our immune systems to stay healthy.
The human body has a highly sophisticated, well-orchestrated system with many mechanisms to deal with bacteria, viruses, fungi and other pathogens. Schools were made for social interaction, not social distancing. Our immune systems are very able to defend the body against viruses.
To assure people that our bodies are designed to fight off many viruses, there are two main parts of our immune system: the innate and adaptive responses. These will work in tandem to ward off infections.
When a virus enters the body, the innate immune system is triggered. Your body will send white blood cells to meet the virus in an almost immediate response. These first responder cells will attack the pathogen and provide barriers to keep it from spreading through the whole body. This type of defense is happening all the time as we come in contact with countless viruses, oftentimes without us ever knowing it.
When the white blood cells aren’t enough, the immune system will signal its adaptive response to form antibodies, so that the next time your body encounters that virus, it can recognize and respond more efficiently.
Regardless when schools open, and the expectation of a harsh cold and flu season, my Keystone team and I continue to stress that one of the most important things you can do to protect against various pathogens is to boost your immune system to keep it running effectively. There are a few ways you and your families can easily do this:
As you can see, our immune systems are designed to fight off viruses. I want to remind everyone to wash your hands regularly, wear a mask or practice social distancing, and stay home if you or a member of your family is sick. However, I want to assure you that our immune systems are ready and able to defend against any viruses they might encounter this fall.
Editor’s Note: Dr. Kristen Bishop is Keystone Natural Family Medicine’s Lead Doctor and Medical Advisor, overseeing all care, its residency program and sees patients as well. As the legislative committee chair for the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association and an Arizona delegate for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, Dr. Bishop is focused on quality care for all patients at Keystone Natural Family Medicine and strives to bring innovation to Naturopathic Medicine.