When it comes to living a healthy and active lifestyle, the immune system is extremely important. Its network of cells and tissues are always looking out for invaders like bacteria, parasites and viruses.
Without an immune system, our bodies would be constantly open to attack. In essence, it would be like going into a boxing ring and not defending yourself against your opponent.
A number of health issues are associated with a poor immune system, including cold sores. This condition is viral and a symptom of the herpes simplex (HS-1) virus. They usually form around the edge of your lips and are extremely contagious during the ‘shedding’ phase.
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They can be passed to other people via kissing and sharing anything from lip balm to using the same cutlery. Once the first infection has ended, the virus is dormant for the rest of your life and can reappear whenever your body is weak.
However, supporting your immune system can help stop cold sores and other illnesses from coming back so frequently. Here are a few simple habits to help you achieve this.
Establishing an exercise routine can do your body a world of good. It not only keeps you mentally and physically sharp, but it can really benefit your immune system too.
Regular exercise is thought to increase overall fitness, which may improve immune system function. It may also lower levels of inflammatory cytokines that may play a role in heart disease.
Getting enough rest every night can be the difference between staying healthy or not. If you are struggling to get the right amount of sleep, your immune system will be weakened and be more exposed to common illnesses.
To ensure you get enough rest every night, you need good sleep hygiene. This involves getting into a routine so that your body can optimise the time given to it to recover. Relaxation CDs, reading a book, yoga or even having a nice long bath are good ways to prepare for sleep. You should also try to avoid looking at your phone at least 30 minutes before bed, as this can impact your sleep timings.
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Consuming the right vitamins is another great way to give your immune system a kick up the backside and keep cold sores from reappearing as frequently.1
- Vitamin A – Can help with the normal functioning of the immune system as it’s thought to play a role in the development of T-helper cells and B-cells (a type of white blood cell that secretes antibodies).
- Vitamin C – this can help support cellular functions needed by the immune system. Oranges, orange juice, broccoli, strawberries and red/green peppers are your best source
- Vitamin D – A deficiency in vitamin D could lead to a decreased immune system due to it playing a key role in supporting the immune system.
If you’re struggling to incorporate a lot of these vitamins into your diet on a daily basis, it might be worth taking some supplements to ensure you’re hitting your daily quota.
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Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.