Is being sick good for your Immune System?

We’ve all been there at one point or another…snuggled up on the couch or in bed, trying to protect ourselves with the safety of our covers, wishing for the horrible illness plaguing us to just give up and go away.

There are few worse feelings for most people.

But did you know that occasionally having a cold or flu is actually good for you?

While this may seem counter-intuitive, being sick once or even twice a year gives your immune system a chance to get in a good workout.

And part of that process is having a fever…which, surprisingly enough, is also a good thing.

I discovered this while spending some time working on an audio recording project with a well-known Viroimmunologist some years back.

What he told me was very surprising.

A fever is typically caused when your body is mounting an immune response to an invading bacteria or virus. A fever is basically your immune system trying to heat up your body to make it inhospitable for the virus or bacteria to reproduce.

What he said was that when your body is mounting this response it shows that your immune system is working to rid your body of the invader.

Unless the fever reaches a dangerously high level, it is typically better to avoid taking medication and to instead let the body naturally do its work.

It is important to let your immune system stretch its legs once in a while. Like any system, a good work out every now and then is good for it. He said that it is not such a bad thing to have a fever once or even twice a year.

He went on to say that many people are quick to take Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil), or even Aspirin to reduce the fever.

The problem is that this makes it much more difficult for the immune system to do its job, because the medicine reduces your fever that the immune system is creating to fight the invader.

If people would just let the fever run its course, they would likely get better much quicker.

Now I am not saying that you shouldn’t take medication if you have a fever. If your temperature gets too high it can be dangerous and even kill you.

But I would suggest that you do some research and speak with your Doctor or Alternative Health Practitioner. They can best advise
you on when you should take medication and when waiting a little may be beneficial.

It is also important to mention that this does not apply to people who have a compromised immune system, who are on immunosuppressive therapy (such as after an organ transplant), or for children.

And of course, as with anything, use your best judgment when following anyone’s advice!

I know that being sick isn’t fun…but it is important.

I’m not suggesting that you go out and try to get sick either.

Following good hygiene habits, such as washing your hands regularly and not touching your eyes, nose or mouth unless your hands are clean, are very important.

But next time you are laying there wishing that someone would put you out of your misery, remember this…being sick may not feel good, but it really is good for you.

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