Your immune system is an amazing thing. Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade body systems and may make you feel miserable. Unfortunately, certain outside factors can weaken this defense system. These factors can include stress, fatigue, and the cold winter months, which are all brought together just in time for the holiday season to make your immune system the underdog in the fight for your well-being.
While the holidays usher in joy and excitement, they also increase our chances of falling under the weather. We do more traveling, more shopping, more get-togethers with family and friends, and more interaction with children, all of which heighten the opportunity of spreading germs and weakening our immune system. There are also many stress factors that come with the holiday season. Things like gift shopping, financial status, gaining weight, and seeing certain relatives are all stress triggers the holidays can bring.
Many people find buying presents difficult and find Christmas shopping a stressful experience. People also can get stressed just at the mere thought of hitting the shops during the holidays, lack inspiration when shopping and worry that people won’t like what they’ve bought them. Many people have at some point had the horrible experience of buying a gift for someone and seeing disappointment on their faces when they opened it.
All of this anxiety is derived only from gift shopping and giving. Combine that with other stress triggers and germs that come into your home during the holidays, and you could be looking at a big problem for your health and well-being. There are two main ways that stress has a direct, negative effect on the immune system. First, it creates chronic inflammatory conditions, and second, it lowers the immunity of those who otherwise might have a healthy immune system. Stress makes us susceptible to falling ill because the brain sends defense signals to the endocrine system, which then releases an array of hormones that not only gets us ready for emergency situations, but severely depresses our immunity at the same time.
Some experts claim that stress is responsible for as much as 90 percent of all health related problems. The way it does this is by triggering chemical reactions and flooding the body with cortisol that, among other things, increases inflammation, decreases white blood cells and natural killer cells, increases tumor development and growth, and increases the rate of infection and tissue damage. The relationship between stress and a weakened immune system is not a simple one, but there is a connection. Because the endocrine and immune systems are so interrelated, disruption to one due to physical or emotional stress typically causes damage to the other.
At times during the holiday season stress will be inevitable, which means your immune system will have a lot on its plate, more so than other times of the year. Perhaps natural health supplements are the best option for you in order to boost your immune system during this time of year. It is your responsibility to stay in good health to enjoy this festive season with your loved ones.